A morning walk to the Seine.
It is dark. She carefully walks down the stairs of her apartment building. She pushes the door handle down; she leans her body back into the hallway space. She places one foot in front of the door and her hand lets go of the handle. The door opens. She steps into the day and behind her the door bangs closed. She shuffles her feet slowly, step by step. Her body turns left, her shoulders hunch forward, and she plods down the tunnelled street. High buildings are lined up on both sides, they have many windows that are lined from left to right and stacked on top of each other. They make her feel tiny and she becomes aware of her single body moving through the space, while she passes all those different lives. Each life a body, each body a soul, each soul a mind, and each mind a voice in the body.
She walks. Her mind travels to the place she just left. She thinks of the pulsed children’s high-pitched voices. They are a constant reminder of another world that is being lived in at that moment. It is the family and Yusuf. Those souls are the only dents of the outside world that are close enough to tell her she is not alone.
While she walks her daily morning journey, her body does not register others. She only focusses on her moving feet and is unable to feel the other lives that pass her by.
She takes all the necessary crossings and walks through two more tunnelled streets. Her body breathes in the open space of water close by. The stairs down to the river are wide and she feels dislocated from the tunnelled streets. Earlier when she had just started this daily routine, when she was still flexible, she had felt the joy of open space and air. But these last couple of days she no longer feels this. This morning she feels unbalanced walking down the wide-open stairs. But still, she manages it, she holds her breath and walks down the stairs. She finds a concrete seat in between the two bridges. Not on the city picnic tables. Never on the picnic tables, they are too dirty.
The grey river landing is good to sit on and there her hands can touch the grass. The grass on her fingers feels good, it is like a gentle human tickle. The touch of a person, something long gone.
On her right sits a tall black bodied man with short hair. He has well defined curves on his arms. He is clean shaven and has a golden streak in his hair.
His sneakers brand new. A black plastic bag rests next to him – it contains white shiny gadgets.
In front and above of him is Celine. The tall, skinny, and perfectly white female towers high above the black bodied man. She is frozen on the other side of the water. She is grounded on an old yellow stone castle like building. Celine is immortalised by the fashionable items she wears; a shiny necklace, huge sunglasses. Her face is hidden, her tears are not visible, she wears a black broad belt and the never forgotten handbag is also with her. ⊇⊆. It is bulky and it pulls her towards the grey water depths below her. The white woman’s gaze is directed at the young man with the white accessories and the flimsy, black plastic bag. He gently cleans the screen of a black phone with a soft purple handkerchief. His lips are closed tight and his eyes are visibly focused. His sneakers are from a starry night sky. His lips move around, they form a message. To someone somewhere in our world. He is dressed in black clothes. His new black phone is huge. He looks at himself on the phone. His lips are closed tight. Celine towers over him. Her brown hair is long and dances in the grey sky that is her background. Both people are closed in by two bridges. The old lady sees grey huge stones stacked together; a horizontal line separates the stones from the blue sky. The grey stones have black half-moons in them. The black half-moons are separated from a lighter greyish flat moving surface. It is the Seine. It wrinkles and sparkles in the grey vastness of the river. One bridge has one big black gaping mouth waiting to swallow tiny people on little boats. The other one has three smaller black gaping mouths waiting to spit out the filth that passes through.
In between them, constantly crossing their connected midline are joggers and cyclists and walkers, electric steppers and even trolley walkers. Each one moves with accessories. The lady looks and sees all those bags, scarfs, hip bags, backpacks, earpieces, laptop bags, watches, multiple bags, arm phones, and more earpieces that pass her by. She looks and recognises Nike, Adidas, Levis. Her ears tell her mind there are many feet that cause a rhythm on the grey tar road. A man covered in sweat. He wears a green shirt. He wears an ultra-thin necklace and a sun cap. Her eyes tell her there are green shoes, blue, orange, even salmon ones. The running clothes are always black; only the shoes are ever in a colour. And there are pigeons for Paris has many pigeons. The lady hates the pigeons. Rats hide while they live in the dirt, but pigeons spread the filth in the air in plain sight. Her body twitches. The intake is over, she is done with it. It is time to go back to the five rooms that hold her things.
She gets up and she starts to find her way back home through the tunnelled streets and her mind calls up the image of her granddaughter. Camilla has climbed the ladder of success so quickly she never sees her anymore. She digs for the looks of the face that is her granddaughter. She is almost home. Her mind leaves her and she only moves her body. The splashes of colour disappear. The hate for the pigeons disappears too. Camilla fades even more, the body arrives at the spring green door, she is startled by a tall man with big brown eyes. It is Yusuf. He is leaving their building. He is about to step into the day, but he waits on the threshold and holds the door open so she can enter the dark and he can step into the light. Her body feels the space and her mind is opened. “Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Yusuf. Bonjour”.