I hear the following story from a lover, under the spell of the little frames of the cafes in the Riviere, and I hear the story about Paris and in French - but I'm not brave enough as to share the story in that language, it would necessitate too much loyalty and I don't seem to have it, the cafes swept across the walls and the little mirrors with Cuban cartoons and in the end everything dissolved into a foreign language anew, I could hear it but I was unable to love it because I had been broken asunder in my own speech, no longer able to believe the times. I had been with him journeying as though we had been condemned to death in the aftermath, sipping nectars from the lives of strangers with the immaculate detachment of the sinless, that can find no comfort in stones, no solace in the toil of others.
The story came from a book whose title I don't know, along a thread that brought Alexis and Hadrian back to life but only for a momentum of speech, the wall could no longer undress themselves and the hinges of the tables hung onto the tiles as though believing nothing else could support their tired feet, they watered themselves with dust and unmovable in their faith contained the conversations, eavesdropping and pick-pocketting the lives of many, laughing at their unremarkability coupled with their seriousness, expensive treats for a rather conventional way to live, studying the paintings in their isolation and looking for mirrors within, for a clue of information that could return eveything into void-and-chaos, for a little tad of becoming something else, perhaps a wave or a line to divide the dead from the living.
In the story an old janitor-woman spends her days carelessly wafting into life without much love, a dead husband and the most absolute dettachment from her destiny in life; wearing a tiny uniform, a tidy one... as she welcomes the guests and the residents of one of the most luxurious Paris buildings, and in a way luxurious buildings are not Paris buildings, therein nothing can be painted, no parties can be thrown for friends, no one dares move one moral into the other, there're no riddles or jokes. All the inhabitants stand stale in their divinely-ordained position and resemble statues of themselves, status no one would dare look at, unless it were for the turbid pleasure of conventionality that fills the artist's heart with uncanny dread over his own person, over his keeping himself company. She turns on the TV in the lobby and the noisy channels flow into the soapy air, 'Villa Fortuna' with Portuguese and Catalanian lovers, colonies far from the city's darkness, and a little sun just to shine enough over the death of the time, such stiff staleness that contains no life at all, it can only speak from the roots of phrasings that no one would take to heart, and after the murder of the heroine one might as well collapse into laughter out of the silly shine of her brest while the flies hover around, one would wish to summon a painter but they're all busy at this time of the night in Paris, chasing after harlots and hearkening to the mud of the clean street.
But the janitor takes pleasure in the deceive, and while the woundruous guests make their impass inside the lifeless building she sits down calmly and reads the philosophers, not too much fondness for the young generation but rather entrenched as a warrior in the same quest of Descartes but not sure whether the Holy Mary could pretty much advance this cause with as much courage. She prefers the ancients, and how bewildered is she about their honesty, their amazement, their empiricism... she would rather pick on something more personal herself, to destroy a person's heart with no more than hindsight, she would rather enter policy than politics. No time in her life for such non-sense; life? state? love? She has a strong preference for the restored paintings in the churches and the mild silence of the choirs, the cynical forgiveance since Heraclitus and Parmenides that are as little in the city as the tiny icons of Jesus that are sold in the portico of the chapel outside the Jewish quarter.
Then she tires from the vexation of the enterprise, from too much surprise that is after all no longer a motif for a good book, she ventures into the streets dressed as an old janitor while the woman philosopher sleeps in listening to Sibelius putting to music the little girl from the fields, that to her resembles more one of those young alcoholics than the Holy Mary of Von Bingen. She ventures into the shop with a transparent bag to place the cheap frozen meat and around the corner hides inside a Swiss little kiosk where she provides for herself anything that there's to taste from the Garden of Paradise, anything that one would never buy unless a lover would await this dinner with fervour, but she wants to be rather free and those legalistic conventions of love do not seem to become her too well. The broken fragments of heaven sit in their lap beneath the skirt and pray for their Liturgy of the Hours, for the blessings over the bread and not too long a journey from Jericho to Emmaus.
She returns home not too tired from lying, and even takes pride in 'Vila Fortuna' still running and only interrupted by the serious comments of the puppets in the advertisements. Inside her little room the frozen meat is thrown out of the window and she can only then proceed onto feeding the Gods with a banquet, 'Trymalchion', she sings to herself in German verses. And how free these slaves are, nothing seems able to keep the organic cord of the living together in still, all the contortions are orgiastic and no one takes pleasure on the street life no more, sickening from the odours of turpentine and cleaning the ashtreys but only in the lonely mornings when all the ghosts sleep the days away and only the tourist dare flirt with the daydreaming of the plaza. She befrees herself, listens to Sibelius again, dines in with the Greek Gods before a little print of a Venetian fresco and converses with the philosophers over her lengthy but late dinner. Vila Fortuna still plays outside, and the frozen meat is still visible from a garbage bin.
And so the story ends without telling much about the statues that inhabit the deadless and deathless building, what a hearth she's found for herself, in a little cafe! The words of the literary supplement engage in flatteries with her only on account of the beauty of her deceive, she wants to be imitated and only so she can imagine that it is still possible to live in the city. Such despise for the sincerity of the wealthy, for their upright morality, for those that whenever faced before life into their own countenance can only answer with 'it is forbidden by law'. Then she reflects on Eve and Cain, and doesn't feel too close home there herself, she prefers Helena and Penelope, at least they are allowed to die, and when so many lies have to be told for the sake of being intimate with oneself, nothing seems more feasible than those parties thrown for the dead, perhaps the only ones worth the effort.
Two glasses of porto and grapefruit slid away from my faithful lips and comment on other entanglements without naming them, un-creating them so to speak, trying to equate them with paintings and with living, with poems and the rhymes written in hotel rooms and in provisoria by young people. The world seems festive that calm swift and thick afternoon, but the times have been adverse and one sees himself less concerned with returning home than with living anywhere. No disappointments sink in as yet, there's no betrayals, it's all beautiful and lacking in mercy, exceeding in desire but only from a far, not really conversing but trying to break the silences in between the two with a drop of wit, so unhumourous, thinking about other ports, delivering ships into other little boats, drafting in their minds the letters they will write to others and the tricks they will play to hinder them from the embodiment of their truth, only if for the sake of protecting them from it. For a second time they easily slumber beneath the boleros both in the band playing and from the freckles of the table cloth, but this time there are no coqueteries to be sold because the eternal life has arrived, by dying the minute before your death... Then the carrier arrives and the conversations vanish as quickly as the waters turn themselves into nightmares, in the last instance right before Matthew's Passion can be heard aloud the poet writes to himself: 'Another farewell, to a lover from abroad, and of course I won't answer any letters until the next traveler will want to hear my paintings again; all travelers have the same name: 'life'. He keeps walking back to the cave, on the way to the eternal life, so entirely void of regret about humanity or sincerity; he laughs a little so that the breeze might not hear but only two walls in the whole of the universe can hearken to this Parsifal: The oil burning the life of the canvas far away in the Occident and the little child in the lap of un-love. One laughs in agreement, the other frowns in oblivion, but none can remain indifferent. They resemble that poet, always tending to wayfarers and pilgrims, always awaiting for the eternal life, as though the cobblestone might persuade one to become a statue... they refuse, they become paintings that can only be told to wayfarers and pilgrims, otherwise they would fail to observe them.