From Book 3: Desnos and Youki

            The weekend—two days of rain, two days of revelation—was over and now the sun was out, drying up the puddles in the streets, puddles that had caught the glitter and frivolous paper streamers of some Montparnasse street party. The sun turned the glistening streets to dry pavement and raised my fears. Artaud was like the sun, ever-present even when not in view. He shrank shadows. He blazed into one’s corners and exposed contradictions, hypocrisies. Now he was gone, beyond the reach of the spell I seemed to have cast, inexplicably, over him for a time. He was free to wander the city by himself and ponder what had happened between us. What was he thinking now? Would I see him that night? Would I ever be with him like that again?

            Throughout my day I tortured myself with these questions. I worked at my desk and chatted with an old couple who had come to open their deposit box. Glancing up from my work, I saw Desnos and Youki standing on the sidewalk outside the front window of the bank. They were waving at me and laughing. Apparently they had been waving at my oblivious head for some time. I met Louis for lunch, and he talked enough for both of us about his plans to open his own gallery. “I almost said galley,” he remarked when we both noticed André Breton standing and sullenly smoking outside our window. So absorbed I was in my thoughts that I missed much of what Louis said. Enthusiastic about his project, he didn’t notice a thing and rushed off. I lingered at the table, feeling far away from everything and everyone.

            The afternoon was interminable. I wasted much of my time in thought. The workday dragged. When I was finally walking home, I saw Desnos and Youki again. They were window shopping—in their unique way, of course. “Look at that rag!” Rob declared as he pointed to a mannequin draped in expensive blue-green taffeta. “I’ll never buy anything like that for you! Those fur pieces, either. I have a string of tinsel that would flatter your neck more.” He grinned at her and she pantomimed whipping a boa around her. “And just look at those high heels. No style, no taste! It’s cracked bedroom slippers for you from now on, my dear.” He leered at her elegant silk suit.

            “Lover, you spoil me. And don’t you dare buy me those diamonds!” answered Youki as she waved at the rows of jewels in the neighboring window. “Those black pearls, either. The Coca-Cola bottle-cap you found on the street will suit me just fine. Such rare American vintage! We should have it set.”

            “In what? A piece of rusted wire?” Rob suggested, smiling at the looks they drew from passersby. “A soda-can pull?”

            “No—just stick it to a cigarette paper with some gum, and wrap it around my finger,” replied Youki.

            “May I wrap some tobacco in it, too?”

            “Only if the tobacco is for me.” They burst into laughter.

            They were having too much fun to notice me. I continued home. I switched on my lamp and saw nothing out of place. I really hadn’t expected Artaud in a sudden reversal of temperament to trash my apartment (although I would not put it past him), but there was no sign of him. My discarded blanket was still thrown across the sofa, my table and kitchen were undisturbed, and the bed was empty. That and the enthusiasm of the cats, who scrambled around a corner to slam into my shins, told me no one had been here today.

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