Friday, June 30, 2006

Excerpts in Limbo, Vol. 4

He had been worried that they wouldn’t let him on the plane with such a large, heavy carry-on bag. He was mostly worried about the x-ray at the security gate. But those people always look bored and glassy-eyed, right? Perhaps those people would be busy with a baby stroller. Or an old lady in a wheelchair. Perhaps he could talk his way into something, out of something.

Early that morning he had buttoned his shirt up to the very last button, which he never ever did, ever. He felt like he was choking. But that could have been nervousness. And several times amid the AirFrance jumbo full of backpackers on walkabouts, the jet-set, the American tourists, he felt a trickle of sweat run down his face and absorb into the broadcloth of his top-buttoned shirt, darkening the mild blue fabric.

When the taxi driver commented on the heaviness of the luggage and he couldn’t think of what to say next. He hadn’t planned that far. And that actually came out of his mouth − “I don’t know why, I haven’t thought ahead that far.” And then he realized he’d better come up with something.

He made it to the bateaux mouche, as if it had been planned. And, sort of, it had. Besides, he didn’t know anywhere else in the city. He floated past antique bridges and one-of-a-kind street lamps. The water was probably colder than he imagined. (Paris in March?) But it wasn’t like the canoe trips back home when he was a kid, now was it? It wasn’t like he could just reach down and stick his god-damned fingers in the god-damned Seine, now was it?

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