Through the park to the metro it's dog walkers, joggers, and a juggler. A ruggedly handsome juggler. He's mesmerizing. The path I'm walking shifts trajectory to follow my gaze. I have to keep correcting my course. Three balls, red white blue, red white blue, under the leg, he's juggling with his foot now, red white blue. I'm staring. He drops one, finally. I'm smiling.
"Beau sourire," he calls out.
And in a millisecond I imagine several possible responses, not excluding allusions to his dexterity, and all potential outcomes, most of them variations of lusty abandonment. But the voice of "reason" drowns out the murmurs: what is he doing juggling at the park at 9:30 in the morning?, he can't possibly have a job, when you start planning to vacation together in Turkey next year who's going to pay for it?
I'm passing him now; I turn slightly and give him a thumbs up. (What the fuck does that even mean?) He laughs, and I walk on.
I take a seat in the metro and open my novel, In the Café of Lost Youth, by Patrick Modiano. It makes me melancholy.
I took the envelope from my pocket and I pored over the pictures for a long while. Where was she now? In a café, like me, sitting alone at a table? Doubtless the phrase he had spoken earlier had given me this idea: "It's all about trying to create ties." Encounters in the street, in a Métro station at rush hour. We ought to shackle ourselves to each other at that moment. What connection can resist the tide as it carries you away and diverts your course?
The busker is strumming out Wicked Game; I hum along. He sings more like Barry Gibb than Chris Isaak; it feels purer this way, less animal, but more tragic. I walk the long tunnel out to the exit, imagining myself clinging to Sailor's snakeskin jacket. I miss being twenty.
Why did he laugh?
"Maybe he's a dentist," one friend suggests. "They work odd hours."
"Independently wealthy. He's just always wanted to master juggling. What's wrong with that?"
"Cirque du Soleil, obviously."
"Lots of people take Friday off."
Some of them call me an idiot.
We ought to shackle ourselves to each other at that moment.I can't wait for Monday and the walk through the park on my way to work. True story.
Missed connection w4m, Parc Laurier, May 6, 9:30 am.