You and I.
This is the simple title of the antique book of poems I purchased in Paris when I was there during my last visit for two weeks in the winter of two thousand twelve / thirteen. Toi et Moi from Paul Geraldy. First published in 1913 in Paris, the edition I purchased was published in 1919. I bought it in a little shop not far below the Sacré Cœur and my beloved Place de Tertre (my favourite nook in Paris) for twenty Euros.
Expensive but worth it.
It is light-spirited and lovely, not an easy perspective to convey when caught in the ebbs and flows of merciless love. It is not a dramatic nor sad account but rather one that wryly shares the all too familiar range of emotions from the glorious and naïve beginning through the jealous and disillusioned middle to the searingly painful end.
For it always ends, doesn’t it? Or at least the ones we write about.
We never write about the love that lasts. We are too busy being nauseatingly happy to take time out to write about it, aren’t we? Love fills one’s schedule with all kinds of drippingly adorable little tasks like movie dates and romantic dinners and note-writing and love-making and all the coupley-coo-coo things in between. Pain, on the other hand, rips a deep, gaping, black hole in one’s schedule and leaves one wide open for heavy wallowing, dramatic loneliness, pathetic sadness, depression, perseverating, over-analysis, and many other melodramatic things.
Among them, notably, writing.
My favourite passage is this:
Je tâche en vain sous mes baisers
de ranimer l’âme éphémère.
C’est fini. Le charme est brisé.
Et tu ressembles à ta mère.
With my kisses I search in vain to bring back your ephemeral soul. But to no avail. It is gone. The honeymoon is over and in fact you now remind me of your mother. Ha! Once drunk with love, he now objectively sees his imperfect lover and it is sobering, to say the least.
I researched the author when I bought the book and discovered that, like so many great writers, he had lived in Paris, in fact had lived just around the corner from where I was staying at the time in the fourth arrondissement. And so, I hopped on a Vélibre and rode over and took a corny tourist’s photo of his appartment and the plaque outside telling we, the adoring public, that he had lived there.
En route, of course, totally normal, no big deal, I passed Van Gogh’s old flat, too.
(Same plaque outside, same cheesey photo taken.)
Another favourite quote:
Si tu m’aimais, et si je t’aimais,
comme je t’aimerais!
If you loved me, and if I loved you, how I would love you! Yes, yes. If only we loved each other, I would love you so much. Ha! There is no if! It is already true! He loves this woman. Immensely. Clearly. It’s done.
Translation, and pardon my English, but the man’s fucked.
And another :
Tu dis : « Nous étions nés l’un pour l’autre. » Mais pense
à ce qu’il dut falloir de chances, de concours,
de causes, de coincidences,
pour réaliser ça, simplement, notre amour!
You say that we were born for each other. But think of all that needed to be necessary in chance, contest, cause and coincidence to realize this, simply, our love! He is basically saying there is no such thing as a soul mate. I agree. But there are many kindred spirits. Love is not so singular, you see. We have glorified it like some untouchable rock star but really it is more like the neighbour next door who we barely ever run into…
…but could. We could know our neighbours better if we wanted to. Love is not so elusive. Like anything in life, it is all in our hands. Life is what we make it. Clichés, clichés. They make us groan, they smart like a paper cut and are as real and annoying.
The truth is a bitch, in other words, n’est-ce pas?
Two posts in as many days and not one for a whole month prior. So why the hell do you think I didn’t post on my blog for said whole month, anyway? (See my last post: My Otaku) I listed four reasons on that post but not the biggest, the real reason.
Hello. It was a boy. I was happy. For awhile.
Well there’s always a but with me, isn’t there?