The Waves Still Whisper Lullabies
Out of a mall. I have a feeling that I forgot to take something. Something that Lynn crucially needs and I’ll have to visit the mall again. But no. Everything’s fine – I check a list of product again. Lynn doesn’t trust my memory and I understand her. I even encourage her to write countless memos for me in case my mind ignores something or leaves behind its focus with no intention. My backpack is full of different tasty and junk food. Somehow Lynn and I chose this type of “cuisine” for this special day. Snacks make people happy. Its taste and smell touches the soul and forces it to vibrate, melting a tongue with the first bite. The earliest part of the morning – and it’s not even called morning yet, it’s still a part of the night – enters the streets of a sleepy Paris. Restaurants in Picpus haven’t put tables outside. I like this part of the city, the streets are wider, you can feel the scale of Paris outside the narrow streets of downtown and escape conventional tourist routes near the Eiffel Tower. The market on the streets is closed for today, freeing the streets for the early visitors of the city like me. “To the metro station. From there to the park and home.” I think Paris likes everyone, despite a person’s attitude to it. It is unconditional love and greeting.
Kicking an orange dry leaf led me to a wine store. Hundreds of the same stores across the capital. The sign states it is Rue Antoine Julien Henard. I enter the store and see already habitual wooden shelves with green and red bottles of fragrant wine. As a reflex, I shake my hand to refuse from assistant’s help. I am not a specialist in wine but I know what kind of it Lynn loves. Sauvignon. Now comes for the year. 1989. Yes. Perfect match, it’s the year she was born. I’ll take it.
The gusty wind brings down the remaining faded leaves. This wind usually brings clouds and rain with it. The collaboration of weather. Ten years ago Lynn asked me to buy a bottle of wine for us, for the first dinner we had. I was 16. I didn’t have any fake ID, I just tried to act as a college graduate who wants to celebrate a day with a bottle of cheap wine. For me, it didn’t make any sense but for a cashier it did. Outside of the store, I restrained myself from running to save the precious bottle of unknown alcohol. To share the first sour and bitter sips of it with a sweet and calming kiss from Lynn. It was a great day. The adults don’t teach their kids that alcohol could fill the cracks that are caused by awkwardness and shyness.
The last time Dan and I were in Paris, I wanted to buy a set of dishes for 6. It has a simple design: white is a primary color, blue dots and hand-made detailed ornaments on the bottom of each plate and bowl. A perfect match for a couple that starts a new life in a big world, trying to make as many family evenings with these dishes as possible. But I didn’t buy it. I hoped I’ll buy it in the future. Now I am standing with this set and don’t know whether I really want it. Whether it’ll suit our life, this special day. Maybe it’ll disrupt a magical mood of the day or emphasize it? I’m overthinking. It’s just a set of dishes, people who will use these dishes are important, they are what matters, Dan is.
I put the first box on a shelve aside, reaching the last one. It feels that the least touched box is better than others. Everything should be perfect for Dan, for today. I open the box, it smells nice, like something new that you know will be in your life for some time, something that will bring joy even an unnoticeable one. Like a pair of socks that Dan wore at the wedding. It violated the style of his suit but he was happy to wear them. I saw him smiling, while he crashed a glass under his heel to respect the traditions of his family. When a part of socks was visible, Dan smiled even more. Who am I to take his happiness even in these small details, which are insignificant. But they make one happier. The same rule can be applied to this set of dishes for 6. However, there’ll be two of us. A stupid phrase “two of us”, it is better to say a whole of us, us makes a single, it doesn’t divide. I grab the box, undermining my expectations with a smile on my face.
In my mind, I crossed out this part of a long list of things I need for the day. Behind a white truck, there is a store which sells gorgeous dresses. I need one.
In the morning, it is hard to find some fruit here in a small store on the corner of Place Gertrude Stein and Rue du Charolais. Oranges. Lynn loves oranges. But there are not any of them. I didn’t think it will be this hard to find them. Had to look for them several days ago, prepare somehow for this special day but no, I decided it is easier to find oranges today. In a pile of mangos and black bananas, there are no oranges. The only option is to find some canned ones. It’s not the same but it is a decent alternative. Furthermore, it’ll have some juice, where the pieces of oranges are drowned and stored. Canned fruit concentrate the taste swimming in a juice of the very same fruit.
When Lynn was sick I bought her the oranges back in Glasgow. The vivid tropical fruit contained the sun beneath its skin. Recognizable flavor and smell interfered in rainy days of our apartments when Lynn had a cold. She always wanted them, believing in their natural strength of curing any disease. Usually, I closed the door to our flat and while taking the shoes off she showed outside the bedroom with a greasy bun on the top of her head, beneath a stretched sweater, in some formless pants. She was disgusted with her look on that days, she even was ashamed to be looked at but the oranges attracted her and distracted from that state. A can of peeled oranges is in my hand. I only have to make a decision how many of them should I carry.
A new pair of wrinkles has appeared beneath my breasts. I don’t see what Dan loves about my body. He’s still crazy like a puppy about me naked and with full clothes on me that he wants to take off immediately. I touch the skin, rubbing these wrinkles, in hope they are temporary. No. It’s my age, I guess. Besides the new wrinkles and some stretch marks on my back, I am more or less in a good shape. Not that I am a model, but two yoga lessons per week keep my body together.
A new dark blue dress cages my body in a gorgeous cell of soft silk. Simple and effective. What more does it need to have? Dan will love it. He is a teenage boy who continues to have an affection for almost a middle-aged woman. He can’t miss a single part of my body while having a petting prelude. Even when I was sick when I had the most atrocious look possible that screams “I am a shapeless bag of bacteria and viruses, he still had an affection. No disgusts with my bad breath, sweaty pale skin or unshaved prickly legs. It seemed as if I was even more attractive to him.
A new dress needs a new set of underwear. I still have an hour until we meet at our apartment. I’ll be in time. I take off the dress and put on my own clothes. At least, I am in France, where the body of every woman is appreciated and recognized by all lingerie manufacturers.
I open the door with a key and enter the hall. Lynn opened the windows for the last blows of a warm wind before the rain. No. Not for that. My nose feels the smoke. Lynn stands near the opened window and stubs out a cigarette. She’s in a new blue dress. It’s pleasure to touch it but she hits my hand, asking me to wash them and take a shower. “I’ll prepare everything, you can take as much time as you need.” She shows me and kisses my cheek. I smile at her and deal with an idea to wait for the beginning of the special day for several minutes more. I take off my jacket and pants and socks. They are clean, but I take a suit from a bag, to wear it after the shower. A towel is on my pillow in a bedroom, I take it. Near the door to a bathroom, two shotguns stand, with two shells on a windowsill. I wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t been deaf and had evacuated with everyone.
Dan notices our shotguns. He starts grieving. I should not have put them there. It might ruin the day. I approach him and touch his shoulder, so he can turn his head. Dan looks at me. I hug him as much as I physically can. I can’t hide my tremor. I can’t hide how many cigarettes I have smoked while waiting for him and preparing everything. I don’t want to. He takes a deep breath and smiles at me. “I know. I accept this. I just love you.” I give him a kiss full of hope, while he turns it into a sorrowful one. I can’t blame him.
She moves a muzzle of a shotgun closer to her chest, so it can blow up her heart. The heart I forced to move faster several minutes ago, the chest that still burns with my touches. Lynn puts a shotgun beneath my jaw. She and I have eyes full of heavy and burning tears. She starts to count. I read her lips. “One. Two. I love you. Three.” She closes her eyes, while I pull the trigger and something licked me on my neck. A cloud of blood settles down in the sunlight on my face. The white sheets turn black under her body. She doesn’t breathe. I can. A feeling of something acidic that eats my skin and flesh appears, revealing a torn piece of a neck. Blood fills my stomach, leaving my brain sane enough to see the dead body of my buried happiness, which I killed myself.