I’m sleepless in Paris.
I came home to an empty apartment. Nobody was home, but things had moved around since I had left that morning. Crayons were spilled on the floor, and there was a leftover omelette on the counter. Hungry, I stole a bite. On the kitchen table, there were photos left on top of the laptop, pictures of her with the father of her baby. He looked too young for him to do what she expected of him: to assume responsibility and become a true father to their child. A photo of him and the boy at some indoor stadium, a photo of the three of them some street in the States. After a few days of over-hearing her conversations with the girl (who’s room I was now living in) and see her cry last night, I really had no hope for her. She had to forget him.
I placed the photos back as they were. I did not want to be further drawn into her story. I could only care for the little one. He was the best thing she would ever get out of her nightmare of a situation.
I then remembered that I had left my wet clothes to dry in the TV room. Landlord was back in town and I was supposed to be a good tenant.
I knew him from his cups (Prince William and Princess Diana), from his toilet (pages of old 80s ads plastered on the walls), from his living room (giant fish pillow, black and white comic illustration hung above the radiator, Telerama magasines scattered beneath the coffee table), from his spices (dill, thyme, nutmeg), from his closet (tall), from his objects (African statuettes, metal boxes, rusty metal knife), from his books (History of Ancient Greece, travel guides, French exercise books).
His suitcase was near the window, open. The laundry hanger was folded. Shit. I was too late. I wonder what it must feel like to come home and see it occupied by other people’s wet clothes, people you’ve never met.
His suitcase was neatly packed. A polo shirt, trousers… I wondered what he looked like. Was he blond? Dark-haired? There were no photos in the room, just books, CDs and papers. My nostrils flared a little…no smell, no perfume.
I found my underwear hanging in the bathroom, each item, neatly folded over a white metallic rod. I could see his large hands hanging them routinely, as though he was mothering me, “Your delicates go here, on the little one”. He had touched my underwear. He knew me from these tiny blacks and a magenta.
This was getting intimate.