“Seulement un thé noir pour moi s’il vous plaît”. Some words which I know in French saved me from an embarassement which I always have when I have to speak English in a non-English speaking country, especially when I know that I should know that damned language. In this case the country was France and the language was, obviously, French. Being in a street cafe in Provence and having a black tea while simply watching people passing by has a bohemian flavour to it. I can bet the waiter figured it out in an instant that my nationaliy was not a French one because he smiled and then he delayed bringing my black tea for about 15 minutes. I could only curse those times when I texted during French classes instead of actually writing down words and paying attention to the accent.
I took out a book and put in on the table, as a decoy, for my purpose for that afternoon had been well-established ever since I had left the cozy hotel an hour before. My phone was packed with photos taken secretly over the last few days. I had decided to be a spy, I had decided to spy on people and capture them in my phone and then take over their lives by writing about them, or atleast about an imaginary “them”. I needed fresh food for my creativity, the bread of the abstract had gone stale. And then I started reading, but not paying a single gram of attention to the words. My eyes were scanning the crowd, sometimes intrigued by the latest fashion, sometimes smiling to strangers, sometimes bemused by a French couple walking hand in hand towards the bridge, perplexed when the couple was unisex.
When I saw her. Long white skirt, see-through from knee down, roman style brown sandals and blue summer blouse which let her back be warmed by the afternoon sun. She was just walking, no obvious purpose to the faint smile playing on her thin lips. The big, branded sunglasses covered almost half of her face and it was impossible to tell where she was looking or what she was thinking about. Then a sudden thought tainted my focus: “This girl has only got herself and she draws her strength from herself”. The solitude of this thought stroke me like a thunderstorm came out of nowhere. Solitude. Longing. Freedom. She was free from everything, she was a history teacher buried in unearthing the past. She was a painter looking for the next perfect model. She was a piano player and she could hear the tunes of the last Chopin in her head. She was everything I could never be or have been. She was the perfect picture of happiness which then for me was resumed to art and music and memory. She was the personification of a feeling which in that moment was pulled from me, turned into clay and then built up into this Eve. And I was in that instant empty. Empty of all my desires, empty of all “could-have-beens”, empty of all regrets.
I had forgotten my whole purpose, people passing by started being void carcasses, my whole focus shifted to the Eve which was now my lost happiness thrown out of me. By myself. I had done it. And my path could now begin all over again, with new dreams, new force, new life, all extracted from new little me. And I did not need other people, I did not ned other lives when I had the new power, when I had the sun shining in my black tea, when I had the lavanda fields glittering purple in the horizon. And I smiled. I truly smiled, knowing all I would be from then on was be happy. happy and grateful for having myslef and my abstract and weird visions, happy for being reborn.
I honestly wanted to hug and kiss Eve. In my mind she is Eve for me, even now. Eve who by her sin which were my past feelings, saved me from my hell. But of course I didn´t. I wasnt´t in the mood of explaining why I was insane. In French. So I was content with taking this photo. Her face is now lost in the shadow of the years. But this single shot and that single moment gave me the happiness which had its ground then and which is built even now. The happiness of being myself and of being content with that, enclosed in myself and letting the world and its people fade to their fate and to my imaginary.