Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Place de la République

It is a sultry hot summer’s day, when walking the moisture sticks to you and it isn’t even late April. The abnormality of it makes me weary and lets me forget for a while the beauty outside of green leaves lining dark grey canals, wild chestnut candles burning white touched by pink and sensuous sweet reds. Spring flowers past their bloom brave the freakishness of 30°C. A little park beckons. Hear the birds and the noise of the city going on all around it. See the kids, people laying in the grass, dogs, strollers and a perfect bench in the shade. So I choose the small safe heaven in this pretty but unliked town that drags me down. I am reading The Painted Drum written by Louise Erdrich.
A man comes and sits himself down on he bench between the lady with a pram and myself. I nod, acknowledge his existence and read on. He starts talking, general things first and there is a kind of distress. I ask him are you all right: he lost his wife two years ago, so he had to move and now lives here with his son and daughter in law. That is no good, so whenever he can he leaves the house and walks and looks for a woman to rent a place with or to move in with. All he wants is a kind woman, then he would be content, share food with her and go out together… just be with her. Having listened to his longing I seem to fit the bill. I tell him I live far away as a kind warning. He holds his ground and tells me he is a Greek Cypriot, 67, in good health, a bit of money but not enough to be able to live alone, in good health, just had his cataracts removed… All this despair in 10 minutes sharp. On a good day he’ll find you at the Place de la République

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