Hank returned to Paris in order to prepare his trip to Cairo. Full immersion in the bustling metropolis scattered his thoughts. He came with the purpose of giving orders to his bank to regularly deliver a certain amount of money to a special account to be used during the long trip. That night he had just had dinner alone in a small restaurant on the Ile Saint-Louis because his old friend, “metteur-en-scene” in the Belleville Theatre, had chosen to sleep languidly in the evening with the mistress. He felt like an idiot, pretending to be carefree, after drinking the bottle of Bourgogne Pinot Noir with its subtle taste of cherries and roses. On the way back to his apartment, wandering through the small alleys of the small Parisien isle, he was enjoying with delight the sweet nectar. He was crossing the bridge Saint Louis when someone woke him from that torpor with a greeting.
– Salut! Tu ne me reconnais plus ? … – questioned the woman in French, accentuating the “plus”.
Surprised, he stopped his pace, searching in the background of his memories the weird missing link. The young woman guarded the face with a violet scarf.
– Do we know each other?
– It seems impossible! Don’t you recognize me? … – She repeated, desolate.
Yes, the voice was not strange to him. Then, he slowly approached the woman.
– Aier Asher Aier! How foolish I am …
We are used to distinguish inanimate rocks, plants or animals, in many ways according to their appearance.
– What a sad reception – she replied with a certain disdain – Ça va pas ?!
– Well, excuse me. I did not expect you here, crossing at this moment this small bridge. That’s all.
Aier caressed gently the face of Leaywoutz. She could not hide the enormous tenderness that she still felt for the man who represented the ideality, the question of all that lives, the possible, the future still open.
– Where are you going?
– I am going home. I will take the RER at St. Michel station.
– I would like to go with you. Can I? …
– Why not?…
She embraced him – curious inversion – and walked in silence for part of the journey with the cadence of the echoes of their footsteps, bothered by the absence of dialogue.
– It’s unfortunate, not being able to act in the past – she said suddenly – To rescue the mobility of things.
New silence. How can we see all the reasons, the foundation of things?
– You always have created ramparts around you, refuged in your secrets. It is necessary to have a secret knowledge to understand you.
How can we ascend the summit of things without first descend to its depths?
– There will be a distant future for us, is there in this universe an infinity of “nows”? Can we always go further? – inquired Aier – I miss your body, naked, kissing your white skin that looks like chalk. In a way I am sorry to have you known too late, or too early, in the border of time.
He smiled. The boldness, the absurd, the percutants formulas, the culture of excess.
– Your apparent apathy makes me crazy! – she replied, aloud, irritated.
– I’m afraid of you. You’re a stone sling, a star-destructive. Still hear the Rolling Stones? You can ‘t always get what you want …
He glared at that beautiful face again and evoked in his memory the moments that made him the man he was. Yes, because it was actually that woman, crazy, wise, beautiful, highly intelligent, and foolish, that had awakened him to life, which took away him from an obscure library where took refuge in the hope of understanding the world and its monumental history, the desire to change the world.
They continue walking, side by side, at slow pace, again in silence. At that late hour there was only a last train to Gentilly. They arrived to the station platform and he no longer questioned, he wondered. The fiction, the reality, the becoming. She focused her gaze on that dense and nostalgic face of Hank. Finally, they entered to the last wagon carrying exhausted workers and lonely students returning from pubs. She pulled him to her in the corner of the carriage, leaning against each other, the bonded bodies, exchanging kisses. Feeling somehow constrained, there he stood paradoxically the antithesis of his intelectual ascension. Seduced, it bothered him to feel the swell of her sex, there, in public, rattling the metal rhythm, the wagon lit by neon lights. She embraced him, quietly rubbing his groin against him in slow, macerated movements, as the train rolled with the rhythm of the night. It was the last train at the time of the crowds, the time of the cynical attitude of the public, the night that doesn’t tolerate the truth. Some passengers noticed the gestures, the intention, and exhausted by the day, turned the attention to the outside, even if they couldn’t prevent the continuation of the stemmed scene due to pale inner reflection when crossing a dark tunnel, first, and then again the outside area of Denfert-Rochereau. Light and shadows. The night remained candid, indifferent and dull itself.