The shadow of St. Sulpice bends over the river, and the street hurts my eyes with its brilliance under the two o’clock sun.

May 30th, 2007, 7am

Low echoes fall, like water dropping in a cave, from the empty windows above the street. People are sluggishly moving from room to kitchen, and back. The cafés are full—their hushed conversation escapes like a rat across the cobblestones—but the shaded windows hide from me the shopkeepers and businessmen taking their break.

The boulevard is clean, forsaken, blank of sound and even smell. The rowhouses hunch together in sullen confederacy. Fragmented music from a sightseers’ barge drifts through an alley, mocking the somnolence. In a storefront, the figurine salt-shakers and painted porcelain bowls lift their shiny glazed faces in a garish sob. The woven scarves trail listlessly upon the pavement. Behind me, two men in black suits emerge from a door, cross, and dissolve in the narrow shadows.

The American bookstore is closed.

My friend left the city yesterday.

I have no money.

I stand in the broad sunlight, shaking.

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