follow back because you all asked me to, because this is one way to say yes, will you marry me?

By Arnaud Frich, two panoramic photos of Paris at night: the original and a captioned one marked with major landmarks.

I stood on the street and it was like an entrance. Breath like smoke dedicated to signaling the weather instead fogging a mirror like the corpse in an Agatha Christy we all had to read in high school as part of English class. From their offered hands to their accented voices, there’s no turning my back on good people. I felt like my happiness had exploded out of some strong box that I’d thought was hidden enough to be dead. That breath again, that mirror lying about the most beautiful woman who ever lived in the world, in this terrible after dancing cafe french fry restaurant dipped in grease and gravy. Too bright lights and scribbling word games on napkins, little finger trap puzzles. The alphabet in spanish, in french, and in effects, hands describing functions and sounds that can only be explained without language in common.

Kick me out of here, kick me out of all my data hacking at my heart that’s been bruised beyond clear definition. I could sing you a sea if you would only remember to talk to me. Off of the street, we’re singing, plates of something congealing that looks like it could pretend to be food in a seventies television commercial for something magical and space-age worthy that comes out of a box. Just add water. This is only for after dancing, I am reassured but already understand. This could only be for after the body has been wrung out in fun and tired, not enough sleep, but this is the lion and this is the lamb. I dig my fork into the detritus and try to remember that last time I’d felt like I’d been let off a leash without suspense. Ah, right. That buggered up. I should never have let him without more clarification than “Are you married?” You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. This however, this could rock me to sleep like the greatest band of all time, Robin Hood taking me in hand to show me the equation that gives me the time in musical notation.

For immediate download, some essential holiday listening: Peter Sellers – She Loves you (the nazi version)

The lines on a sheet of music are like the aggressive lines next to the highway that mark the fences that keep you from spilling your wheels off the side and wrecking your car. When we left the plastic tabletop full of drunk girls stumbling past, after fencing poses and flushing excavations into personal history waving conversations, it was decided we would go to a house in Outremont for coffee because there was a piano. I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t know who I’m with, but it’s enough to end a war, this sort of delightful finding of company on the side of the road. St. Laurent is behind us and we’re not slipping on the snow around our ankles, instead they’re letting me steer the car. My hands leaning over Cristian, the music conductor, his hands back and away and refusing to touch the vehicle, my body a curve like the road around Mt Royal. It’s not quite a mountain, it’s not quite a hill and on top there’s a cross all made of lights. White unless the Separatists are putting the shoulder to some action, then it turns blue. Politics, left, right, I don’t want to drive into anything, this is already crazy. It’s lucky I’m used to drivers who roll drugs into joints in their laps, but ice is confusing. The tires are lying different contact patterns to stop on the street. I make it past all the stop signs, it’s not my feet on the pedals and it’s all straight and I’m laughing, refusing to look backwards. There was no map, only instructions.

Because sometimes everything you need is in front of you.

It’s time to fake the knowledge of how to write a book

audrey-kawasaki – grumpy girl
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Living here, it doesn’t come easy, but I suppose it’s what I have to do until I find the funds to permanently leave.

Time slowed in the dark bus to the dark trickle of molasses. Travel encased in warmth and looking out at cold, the perfect orange of sodium lights, dirty highway, I felt my chest packed with string. It unraveled as we drove, sliding roughly out of a tiny hole in the center of my back, as if one end was tied to a rib and the other end behind me in the city. Oh the snow, the light crystals of shine that I would gather in handfuls and toss in the air.

I wanted to run.

Last night, for the second time in a week, I was to be found spending the night up in a home that was built from the bricks of a tax bracket that lives indifferent to my existence. But unlike the bed in Outremont that felt comfortable, redolant of music and welcome teeth, the bed here smelled like a museum exhibit, like I had crept into it past glass or a red velvet rope, all untouched history and neglect.

I fell asleep as the sun came up like a stone, trying to remember Sylvia Plath:

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Soon I’ll have to explain about Outremont, the people who saved my trip and forced me native overnight, breaking my heart and the language barrier with letting me drive, a grand piano, tango lessons, and singing.

I’m still irritated that I didn’t bring anything back with me.