moments of illumination in the city of light

003 : Bronwyn Mahoney at Rue Fessart, Belleville
Born in 1967 in Australia, Bronwyn Mahoney currently works as Writer, Mummy, Reader Why Paris? To be with my love. She digs the following Paris bits: 1. The Metro 2. My family 3. African fabric shops 4. Hand-cranked merry-go-rounds 5. The healthcare system She is, however, a bit miffed by The things she dislikes in Paris: So much cheese, so little cheddar; the bureaucracy; dodging dog caca during the morning school run; the lack of fish and chips For more info on Bronwyn Mahoney you should send an email or visit her homepage.

“Two cans of beer in the thin plastic bag”

The affair had been brief, a holiday romance. In my hometown, visiting from the Taiwan island, I had met him, again, and it had happened. When I left I was so sad, so unsure if I should stay, full of wondering whether our shoes, his and mine, should be together.

I always knew the answer was no.

Some long time later, I met another man, and he asked me to come to his country, to see his city. Strangely, after two or three months, I thought I saw the man from my hometown. Everywhere. On the metro, in the bar, even in the Monoprix.[1]

One day I picked up a free postcard and put it in my bag. I went back to the house I shared with my French love. He was gone for the weekend. I looked up the place on the card. A band was playing the next night. A band from my hometown. His band.

I made to deliberate, but really, I did not. What a lark, to see them here. To see him. I reached the door, people milling around, some holding signs, looking for tickets. I wrote him a postcard and someone took it backstage. He bounded down, picked me up. I felt warm, people turned to see. No, I didn’t have a ticket, yes, please, I would like one. Of course, a drink after the show.

I was, in a word, chuffed. People continued to look at me, who is that girl, I imagined them saying. During the show, I tried to deduce if any of the references in his songs were to me. I’m sure they were not. They finished, he came out, we got some beers and leant over the balcony, people stopped to talk to him. He told them he had to talk to his old friend. That was me.

Why I was in Paris? Why, for love. Oh, you can’t go out for a drink after all? Very tired. Too old for the rock and roll lifestyle. Desperation in his eyes. Desperation to get away from me.

Deflated, I walked out into the street, on to the metro. I needed more beer, I felt so flat, I needed those bubbles. Walking up the street to the house of my French love, cursing the lack of 7-11s in Paris. Then I remembered the Alimentation.[2] I kept walking, turned right, and found it, on the corner.

Two cans of beer in the thin plastic bag. I turned to walk back. But I’m stopped by a sound. A billowing sound, a billowing beat of a sound. I look up and the most beautiful sight: a window, painted on the wall, trompe l’oeil,[3] pushed over the edge by the addition of a real curtain. But the curtain has torn loose, and flies against the wall. I can’t move. Then I realise the sadness is gone and now I am sure, and I carry my two cans of beer in their thin plastic bag. Home.

referenced works

  1. Monoprix is an upscale French supermarket chain, with an extremely wide selection of yoghurt and open until 10.00pm.

  2. Corner stores in Paris are recognisable by the sign “Alimentation”, which simply translates as food. They offer almost everything you could need, including fresh fruit and vegetables, but I’ve never seen anyone buy.

  3. Art historical term for an optical illusion in painting, meaning “to deceive the eye.”

location information

  • Name: Rue Fessart
  • Address: Rue Fessart, 75019 Paris
  • Time of story: Late NIght
  • Latitude: 48.878151
  • Longitude: 2.385364
  • Map: Google Maps



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