It was a dim Sunday in winter, when you rise in the afternoon and the day is already dead, but then you take a walk into the darkening evening to make something of the day. It was cold and in Paris and there was a market on not far down the main street. I had arranged to meet Nina there. It was not planned but she lived close to me and I suggested for her to come down. She was free so we took a stroll to the market and walked a little in stale conversation and we had a warm mint tea. They often served a dark, sweet mint tea at the market, with many North Africans, or French with this heritage, living in the city. I liked the tea but I thought at the time that it could have been hotter, and we sat drinking it on one of the wooden benches in the middle of the crowds. It was very busy and I was hanging from the night before, feeling tired and sagged, and I could see that the light was dying. Nina’s eyes were looking at me suggestively and then around the crowds. She looked beautiful but bored.
I met a deaf person today, although I only saw that they were unable to speak, so they may have been just mute. It was in the hospital, a starkly ugly woman in the bed next to mine, just overlapping with my visit by twenty minutes or so. I had seen her before, but never been close to her, and I still had never spoken to or interacted with her. I am unsqeamish, and I frequently say yes to all things and I am not uncomfortable to be around the other older people in the ward. But my heart sunk when I had to lie next to this woman. She was androgenous in her old age, with a grey hair almost spiked, and a slow and cautious body. It was her face that was difficult to look at, and this does not happen frequently to me, but it has sometimes happened to me in the hospital.
My friend Bruno was on the phone the other day, describing his days and life and lamenting the end of the season. It had been the end of the warm season for a few weeks and it was certain now, although the heat was still strong. It was late September, and it was that moment for smiling regretfully, for opening your palms and admitting that it was gone and would only be back beyond the wall of winter. The riverside bar that K and I liked also closed last night for a final time. They held a jazz jam session and it carried on a little past closing time. I had seen Joy there, he was doodling on his guitar on a busy stage with his funny faces. The arm’s chill on the ride back home through the Via delle Sentinelle also reminded me of autumn, and turned the key once more in the lock. Bruno laughed, and confirmed it.
Lying in the dim corner of all nights, a tempt and tangle. The little shop stands on the way home, where you drive past the double parked cars along the pavement. It is so easy to stop, the little pasticceria that works through the night and opens for the young people going home.