I’m looking for a door that I can’t find…peculiar…it’s exactly the main door of Roman Polanski, the director of the movie “The Ninth Gate”, that is hiding to my sight. I’m in Paris in this rainy afternoon of april 14th 2005, I’m back where, two months before, I’d left a story to read for the friend director. I’m walking to and fro on the avenue without finding it, it’s hiding to my senses…fatalist as I am I’m asking the reason…what other else shall happen in a day so full of incidents as today?
Wrote by Arturo Perez Duverte
Even during the morning I tried to find it without any success, then the idea of arriving at dinner time made me give up my search and I kept on walking in the wonderful gardens english style opposite the “grille du coq” of the Eliseum, to the Pavillon until Place de la Madeleine.
The etymology of Paris originates from Par Isis (Isis’ house, the Great Mother), from her comes the name of the Cité… for this I go in the “Church of the Magdaleine” to admire the statue of the pregnant Magdalen while levitating full of spirituality between the wings of two big protecting angels. The white marble group glows with grace everywhere: it’s really impressing… out of the church the view of Luxor Obelisk devoted to Osiris and surmounted by the golden Piramidon completes the wonder! It fills the soul…
It is cruel and stupid above all towards ourselves not to profit of the time we have…It is necessary to share knowledge to unite it. French people tell: “Partager”: to share, to speak about everything with everybody! …
In the Metrò I meet words, smiling and conspiratorial looks, even only a glance or a cheerful quip are shared happily …A jamaican rastaman is studying me trying to understand my origin, I surprise him telling that I had been many years ago, in 1978, in Jamaica and asking if he can show me the stop to reach Simon Bolivar, where my cousin lives. He smiles, tells me to get down at the next stop…and asks me if I have kept a good memory of his country. I answer: “Certainly yes . Even if it’s a little dangerous”. He laughs and wants to know if I say so because I’ve had a story with a jamaican…it arrives the stop to get me out of trouble… I get down nodding yes more to make him happy then to correspond him the truth… well different!!! The Metrò start again and takes away his last words “Ah…a Rastaman”, I let him go away with his persuasion, somebody knows what means to meet a rastaman …an Italian girl then young knew one of them…because, in his opinion, French don’t travel, don’t analyse thoroughly, are close. My cousin Margot, veterinarian since years in Paris, is convinced… “they don’t socialized” she adds.
To tell the truth I believe they are only reserved, with me they are amiable, I obtain communication from any question made even if by now I can recognize who to ask to, I know the faces, how less complex people move .…
The others, people with scarce subjective opening (broadmindedness) towards the external world, are unfortunately afflicted by the fault of being civil servant.
Margot is ending a visit in her study, to while away the time I turn her computer on, in french curiously it is called “ordinateur”, maybe because it keeps the data in order, it keeps them together, it makes easy their searches …it reminds me to the meaning of the hieroglyph “eka”, the magic of keeping things together…certainly there isn’t a better virtual library, picture-gallery, gamesroom than an “ordinateur”, here everything is kept together, millions of data available that can be shared in a bit…it makes to hope for the best!
Time fly and it is late…I still must find that door …I run away…Nothing to do… I buy two tickets to see the ballet “1Two3” by Sylvie Guillem , the feather of the Operà, l’étoile, la stella, the star! Strange: feelings caused by an artist, her lightness in suggesting them make her called an étoile. Étoile, star in hieroglyph means door …hence an étoile is a door towards the abstract, a door for the audience through which they reach an elevation…Beautiful: I like being surprised by my self thoughts!
Feather … Sylvie Guillem
The other evening, going out from a privée with my usual roman friend, we’ve been approached by a man on a car, the driver with a gentle tone addressed in French to my companion asking if he could make me a question, getting an assent he wanted to know what I had on “en dessou”, underwear…and I answered him “le ciel!”, the sky…for then quicken my step and disappear in the Parisian night, before glimpsing some… star!
Some time vanity dresses with words… for Heaven’s sake never wear haughtiness.
All the unexpected of that day happened at the first run at the “Théatre des Champs-Elysées”: the tickets “2me Balcon Côte” reserve a real surprise…they are in the last gallery…over on the top, nearly clung to the golden ceiling that states, among baroque stucco works, “Sur la cime l’angoisse et le réve”(on the top the anguish and the dream) …
The revelation is on the ceiling !
Le réve , the dream …yes I ‘d dreamt to be admired that evening…but when I go in…I think I faint. I suffer from dizzy spells… For me is nearly impossible reaching my seat and stay sitting on it at this height: anguish is overrunning me, my body is full of pins, my stomach is shut and I’ve a strange sensation to my leg…as a paralysis, a vicelike grip that closes also my throat…a nightmare, I can’t look downstairs without feeling even more the sensation of having thousand needles under my skin. What to do? Crawling I go down to the first rank where the balustrade is higher, pass my scarf behind the back of the seat providing to knot it on the front, as if I was sitting on a airliner…I breath, trying to control my disease…
. Fasten your seat belt !
Margot leans out to let me understand how it doesn’t exist a real danger…I feel sick. It can be told to everybody, not to me: no people who is suffering from dizzy spells will be able to suicide throwing himself from the the top…hence it follows that two dear friends lost in this life, so called suicides, one down from a skyscraper of New York and the other from the Fossano Bridge…have never been so…they were suffering as me of dizzy spells and I can assure you, having felt it personally, as your body reacts making you fall back on yourself…you can neither reach the border standing tall…impossible, the sensation you feel is indescribable, you only tends to retire. Margot is speaking compelling me to turn my head to look at her and in doing it my eye’s cone sees the void and makes me feel again that stab of pain in my stomach.
She’s trying the impossible to bring me relief, she leans a foot to the balustrade…I think I can die…I cling to my symptomatology of dizziness and… to the balustrade to learn to cohabit with this pain, I wouldn’t either dream of overcome it, to win it. I’d wish only to see Margot sit down and let me alone…instead she wants me to pass that test. Impossible. Strange, I fell like thinking how the same behaviour could be seen from two different points of view: Is it “thanks to her” or is it “for her fault”? Depending on my choice I could be grateful or accuse her…this is how is life… if she managed to let me forget everything it would be “thanks to her” but if I feel even more ill it would be “for her fault”. But the action she is doing, her intention is always the same, it’s positive. It’s me that is giving a different meaning to her behaviour…this is why we’d better always do a sort of analysis…is it a subject or an object…and then calm down recalling how the problem is all ours, in this case mine, my is the phobia of the void…
Dark is falling in the theatre, the spots are illuminating the scene, I breath, finally the void has been darkened and I, fastened to my safety belt, come back to normality and can enjoy part of the show… really wonderful.
Sylvie dances without weight, she raises her body in complex acrobatics apparently without stretching a single muscle, her being is a bundle of energy. At the end the applause excels her, is disruptive, prolonged, involving…people is whispering: étoile…étoile….
We end the evening at “Comptoir da Thaiceur” at number 12 of Avenue George V, next to “ Crazy Horse”, Thai staff receives us with the great calmness typical of oriental people, their looks are pure and their voices persuasive. The cambogian maître is even too patient with us… let us changing table three, four times! Every time a cigarette is lit we change place: smokers are really persons who couldn’t care less…when they finish eating they think of having the sacred right to lit a cigarette, never mind if at their side there is somebody who still must begin with the hors d’oeuvre! What a lot of selfishness, of tactlessness. Luckily in our country smoking in public places it’s forbidden…now you must rise from the table, just as used once…. move in the fumoire to sip a coffee and talk again wrapped in the conspiratorial spirals of smoke!
Through it out
On leaving the comptoir an aged beggar, taken the denture out, shouts that he’s hungry…the sated consciences prick and the hand runs to the pocket. Life is a performance and he plays it successfully, I feel a lot of sadness rising in my heart. It’s true, everyone of us asks, but begging money to survive…the system let no free spaces… even we more lucky beg… some complicity, some sympathy, a sort of communion to feel us less alone. But asking money means not having satisfied the primary material needs and society doesn’t give more credit to him who couldn’t manage in finding a balance, who has been overwhelmed or has let himself overwhelm. Poors are still more chained to the system, which they don’t ask more humanity to, but only few coins to go on. Their looks are voids, it matters only how much they succeeded in gathering… in our indifference. We should give them credit becouse they live with us, are we. We should search an exchange but not with a coin but giving them trust…this is a task of public institutions.
I’d like that somebody faced a thesis, created a project for them… to give them not money but credit to use for living, an exchange that re-qualify, that set them free from a submission to the system even more painful than ours….
I won’t fall easily asleep…too many problems lived in this short and always splendid stay in the “Ville Lumière”, really a lot! I cling to the nice memories, I recall the “Almà” Bridge, I see again the Zuave statue leant against the nave… if Senna level inceases his foot is covered by the water…a modern Argonaut, the warder of the town…I must remind to throw a coin on his jacket to pay this transit.
In the end and maybe thanks to that coin the following day I managed in finding the desired door…when it came the moment to open it!
In the evening it finished to rain and, after a very good chinese dinner at the “Mirama”, 17 rue Saint Jacques, it is possible to walk along Paris.
Notre Dame’s Garguille
We start from the Île de la Citè leaving back us the fire-eaters’ show, new Esméralda’s friends, before “Nôtre Dame” and we reach Île Saint Louis to cross definitively the Seine towards the quarter “Le Marais” and up to “Les Voges”, house of Victor Hugo. Really in the night it’s no more possibile hearing time passing so alive the town is, we pass through small streets full of the lights of “bistrot” and “traiteur” specialized in satisfying every desire… Chineses, Lebaneses, Hebrews, Russians, for gays only, for women only, for everybody….Every shop opens its windows to that crowd consisting of every age and country. Parisian shopkeepers are very rich of courage… one shows in his windows only “bears”, another only “matryoshkas”…
I smile thinking to the meeting with the executive for the opening of credit:
“Which kind of work does she want to start, lady?”
“You know, I’ve seen a nice shop behind Hotel de Carnevalée and I’d like to sell bears, …of every kind, teddy bears, wooden, printed, on the T-shirts, on the key rings…but, mind well, only and exclusively bears…”
They really have all the courage and credit that is lacking us…
A rest inside Hediard lounge
I come back by Metrò from the “Bastille”, it seems to be in one aquarium so many are the kinds of people, I become enthusiastic when I see the different typologies, there is everything and every kind! The doors open, a group of Englishmen enter… with them a Scottish, he wears a black kilt closed by a pin in the shape of a sword. He is a nice figure of man…he sits down paying attention to not showing too much…we all smile of his reserve… I get down at “Roosvelt” and follow the stream of people to arrive to the change of line to “Almà” …a boy pushes his way on the “quai” with a white stick whose noisy wheel precedes him…he’s blind and has covered all those stairs, those passageways that to me seemed endless in darkness!
I think I’m very lucky to be able to see, to appreciate that multitude of faces, races, different colours, to enjoy their precious variety.
The leaving day still catches me in search of a tipical french restaurant: “Le Soufflé”…a lady standing at a bus stop on the Champs Elisée is offering to take me on foot to and …talking and talking…we arrive up to Place de la Concorde where I return the favour translating for her the text written in hieroglyphic on Luxor obelisk.
The Obelisk again with the Pyramidon
After the fountain of “Tuilleries”, and before “Lôuvre” Museum we cross Rue de Rivoli to reach the small restaurant at 36, Rue Mont-Thabor. I say good bye to my mate of exchange of knowledge, she doesn’t want to enter… she’ll always keep with herself forever, in safe, the memory of those hours…
Tryng a Soufflé made by patè and by mandarine
Inside is a feast for the senses: every kind of soufflé is served, from the salted with patè and with cheese to the sweet tasting mandarin… My neighbour of table, two gourmand Philippe, assert the best is the “soufflè framboise”… raspberry taste! They manage a typical restaurant, “la Truffe Noire” where, thanks to an exchange of e-mail, I mean to satisfy my wishes in a next journey.
Now is late, I must run away, my bus for Orly airport starts at 15,30… I arrive panting, three soufflé weigh in the run more than my case, I sit on the first seat by side of a man with a gentle face…George, he too is going to Nice! We start to speak about ecological food, Mediterranean diet…up to our arrive on Côte d’Azur we don’t stop a while…we speak about everything exchanging our knowledge as if that was the only occasion allowed to us to do it…
The Hammurabi code
from the Hammurabi Stone to the Templars’ path, from their wish to see on French and on papal throne two Graal’s heirs. In my heart I hope that can exist other buds sprouted from the same branch, maybe not officialized in a probable family tree, so to be nowadays a silent multitude…it is of use the example of the 250 sons of Ramses II, the “Ramoses II” lived in 1250 B.C….how many and of how many races are they today?
Time flies as our aircraft…five hours to correspond ourselves, to understand with joy how similar we are, he is married…I won’t see him again anymore …it is implied between us.
Really in the flowing of these days I’ve always found a door open to the communication, to the exchange…with a multitude of people…everybody are looking for the same thing: balance, equity, truth and time to experience them….