Finding Feet

jeudi, le 17 septembre 2009

Tonight was the last night I was obligated to spend time in my former shop according to the sale agreement. I cringe at the special the new owners are running. I cringe at the tacky advertising on my once sophisticated notice board.

The Gallery Owner and his soon to be divorced friend drop by. I’m delighted to see him. I could always rely on his support on exhibition opening days. Some other friends join us and it’s a fitting last night in the shop for me, sitting around the round table, laughing and joking and clinking glasses of red wine.

The Gallery Owner and friends leave. The soon to be divorced friend stays behind. We have a lot in common and talk about books and music but not about our hearts. Conversation is difficult above the music, which is much louder than I ever allowed. I consider inviting him home for another glass of wine. I remember the last person I dragged home with me was L’homme and decide against it. I get up, pay for my drinks and leave. I go home alone.

I phone L’homme. He tells me he can’t come back to me. He needs to find his own feet. I ask him whether he ever stood on his own two feet. He says he did when he was a diplomat in Paris That was many, many years ago. In fact, before he met me. So what he is essentially saying is he never stood on his own two feet in our many years together. Nor did he therefore when he was with The Ex-French Girlfriend. I cannot be held for cutting his feet off and being legless most of the time, was his own doing.

I doubt his need to find his own two feet or his need to stand on them, should he find them. I suspect he’s simply looking for new feet to stand on. Feet that adore him, feet that send him gifts, feet that whisks him off to exotic destinations, feet with money. And in spite of what he says, I think he has found those feet. And I pity those feet. They too will develop blisters on their corns when they walk for miles crossing the great divide between his words and his actions.

When I put the phone down, all I hear is his heinous laughter in my ears about a day he lied to The First Ex-Wife about how ill he was. She phoned me tearful with concern, but fortunately, before I contacted him, I found out he was alive and well and in a bar. Funny that. But tonight he reduces The First Ex-Wife and me to the laughing stock of his comic book life as he delights in his deceit.

He blames me for falling ill, for having to use a deodorant his skin reacted to because I threw his perfume away. I never did. I merely moved all the cruel reminders of him left behind on my dressing table the day he left without a word, without a goodbye, to another cupboard. If he had the common, garden variety, decency to contact me before sneaking into my house a second time, I would’ve told him about the perfume, the photo’s, the remaining bits and pieces. But he didn’t. And now I stand accused. It deeply annoys me that he measures me by his vindictive, malicious standards. I was many things to him, but vindictive or malicious I was not.

I blink to rid my mind of the image of feet and callouses and L’homme’s callous abuse of feet that are not his but that he has used to stand on for so long.

(On our barge trip through the South of France last year, the barge broke down on the second day. L’homme and The Engineer tried their best to repair the diesel engine, to no avail. Thankfully there was a restaurant within walking distance that served excellent coquilles Saint-Jacques, one of L’homme’s favourite dishes.)

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