Waiting for Pat
I finally talk her into meeting me again, if only just this once. I will arrive at our café on the corner by the Pantheon before her and wait awhile. She will finally come, and sit down and light a cigarette. For a time, it will be as it was.
I wait all morning, knowing how she runs late, but she doesn’t show. Later, at her hotel, she has checked out.
a truckload of empties
rattles on the cobbles...
easier this way
Recovering in New York a month later, I receive a postcard from London. She has gone there for an abortion, it says without apology. She used the money for train fare, paints and canvases, and she thanks me. She will be at this address another month, and then, who knows? Does that mean she might come back to New York?
I didn’t even know she was pregnant. Was it mine? I write back for an explanation, offering to send her more money, but she doesn’t reply, and I never hear from her again.
I think occasionally of the little top floor room we shared awhile near Sacre-Coeur. We used to climb out like children onto the roof at night, to escape the cramped single bed, and slept outside. Though there were no stars, there was a thrilling view of the city lights. Sometimes lying there, warm with the wine and her body against me, I was almost convinced she loved me. She seemed happy, contented.
Then I think of her depressions and her struggles to paint, and of how sad she could make me. Finally, there was the afternoon I came back to find she had packed up and walked… What happened there? I realized long ago I would never understand, or ever be able to forgive her careless cruelty.
Still, the other day, I came across a photo from 1917 made near the site of our café by the great Frenchman, Atget. The street looks very much as I remember it that morning in 1963.
the eye searches
the misty distances –