Story Time Sunday: 10/05 –taraxacum: the story so far…..and a new chunk, Part 6

Taraxacum part 1

Taraxacum part 2

Taraxacum part 3

Taraxacum part 4

Taraxacum part 5

and now…….. part 6

I fall asleep in the late afternoon, and wake only when the air from my tiny garret window begins to cool off the inside and the pizza oven at the place downstairs gets turned on, and I smell the baking dough, and hear the clanking of the servers getting ready to open.

I walk downstairs and go to the restaurant.


They are nice to me there at the pizza place, because they are foreigners too (though I’m not sure they’re Italian), and they always give me a nice meal, and then the guy who is always my serving guy, asks me if I want some champagne for dessert.  He always asks that, and someday I want to surprise him and order it. Assuming I’ll have something to celebrate. A completed draft of my dissertation which is about the 18th Century, not the 17th, and it’s about literature, not about history, and it’s scholarship and not some crazed tale of time travel thanks to dandelions and religion, which I don’t believe in.  The 18th Century was the Age of Reason — the beginning of democracy, the refusal of superstition and prejudice.

I eat my pizza and drink my orangina, and I don’t get dessert, and I walk home and start to go back up the 4 flights of stairs.

On the first landing is my landlady, who is — frankly — a pain in the ass.

“Mademoiselle,” she says commandingly. “You have placed the garbage on the sidewalk too close to the buildings.” She takes a breath. “The garbage collectors cannot be expected to take so many steps.” She gestures to me, and walks out with a tiny shopping bag.

Comme Ça!” she says, placing the shopping bag on the very edge of the pavement. “4 centimetres to the left of the Briocherie sign.”

I apologize to her. I am always apologizing for some odd mistake that I’ve made. I feel so uncomfortable here, and sometimes I just think about giving up and going home and writing my dissertation at my parent’s house.

Except for the fact that my parents are dead.

I try to read but I can’t. I open the kitchen window which looks out into a kind of open space filled with other windows of other apartments. With the window open I can hear the sounds of all the people in all the apartments in the house. People are speaking French and Arabic and Catalan, which was the original language of this place. They are speaking Spanish too. They are all talking to someone and I can hear the utensils being put away and laughter and yelling and kids being told to do their homework and televisions tuned to soccer and to movies and to France Culture. Everyone is talking to someone. As far as I can tell, I am the only one who isn’t. I wonder if I am ever going to have someone to talk to in a language we both can understand. Someone I love and someone who loves me. And have that person be the same person in both instances.

I feel alone most of the time. But I have never felt as alone as I do right now.

Will writing a dissertation change that? I thought once that if I became a scholar I would belong to a family of scholars and we would all have fascinating discussions.

I put my book down. I get into my pj’s, and go to bed.

The windows open, and the pizza oven bakes, and the people in the apartments speak, and it is a long time before I fall asleep in my garret apartment. A Cinderella – time traveller, who also wants to be smart.

courtesy fall asleep wondering to myself “Henri IV — what was his deal?” There was something. Something about him and Catholocism.


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