Tuesday, December 27, 2016

L'Etranger

An old unpublished memory of the last time I can remember laughing and crying at the same time, from Tours, France:

After school ended for the day—early on mecredi, I decided to head to the Musee de Beaux Artes in Tours. I took my camera, and captured images of my school and city in its autumn graces.

The afternoon was getting late, and I was getting hungry. I walked through the city to Rues Colbert, where there were many restaurants.

I walked into a nice restaurant, but the woman told me it was closing.

The afternoon rain was starting to drizzle down on the city.

The second and third restaurant also said they were closing.

The fourth was the same.

Quelle heure est'il?

Deux-heures et demi.

Closing time for lunch in Tours,
as I found out in the next restaurant as well.

There might have been a sixth too, I forgot amid the pouring rain.

Apparently Tours takes a sieste.

I was getting soaked, so I ducked into a Turkish kebab joint that was the last chance. Success.

It was good too. Kebab, frittes et boison (Coke de cerise) for the prix étudiant de cinq euros et demi.

It was good, and I was full. It was still raining so I made it another block before ducking into a bar to get out of the deluge.

I sipped my bierre out of a great glass goblet as the dark skies passed.

I read 17th century Japanese haiku poetry by Matsuo Bashō.

First winter rain -
I plod on,
Traveler, my name.

The storm passed and as I was about to leave, the woman behind the bar asked me in French:
De quel pays?

États Unis

Mais de quelle origine?

Juif

Moi aussi,” she said as she showed me the star around her neck.

Shalom.

Shalom.

She gave me the warmest kiss on both cheeks.

Shalom.

Shalom.

I walked out into the slowly-drying afternoon, putting on my sunglasses block my wet eyes—the yellow hiding my dampening gaze.

I met a stranger in the night 
Whose lamp had ceased to shine 
I paused 
And let him light his lamp from mine. 

A tempest sprang up later on 
It shook the world about. 
When the storm was gone 
My lamp was out. 

But back to me the stranger came. 
His lamp was glowing fine. 
He held to me his precious flame 
And rekindled mine. 

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