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Monday, October 28, 2013

A Discretionary Tale. By John von Daler

                   Paris. The City of Love. I was "between marriages" and had invited my girl friend of the last half-year to France on a romantic holiday. We visited Montmartre, ate delicious meals, gave old Pablo a visit and generally just enjoyed the pleasant weather about which charming songs so often have been written.
                We stayed at a small hotel on the left bank. I wish I could say that it was that little place overlooking Isle de la Cité where two windows open out onto Notre Dame, but we had found lodging in a cheaper end of the quarter. Not that we could complain. We had two rooms, a bedroom and a kind of sitting room overlooking several cafés. In fact we only spent the nights and part of our mornings there anyway.
                The woman I was with was quite beautiful, a small person with pale skin and luminous eyes. She had spent some time in India and had that peaceful look of someone who meditates and eats vegetarian food. She was a stylish person and it was not without pride that I showed her off to Paris.
                As often is the case with people who give themselves to some faith, she had a regimen that she followed strictly. We carried on intense conversations with waiters in restaurants in our broken French about the possible animal content of various delicacies. So while I ate "Coq au Vin", she happily munched on "Les Crudités".
                Daily meditation made up another part of her routine. Every morning she practiced a vigorous kind of meditation called "Hu". I would retreat to our little living room while she closed the door to our bedroom where she spent a half an hour hopping up and down wildly while easing herself into a half-conscious state from which she emitted the sounds of whatever mood her subconscious happened to dictate.
                These moods often were expressed as screams and sighs, a kind of huffing and panting louder than the walls of our room were prepared to contain. So the "huhs" and "ohs" and "ahhs" and "eeees" together with the pounding of her hopping feet echoed through the hotel and out into the cafés below our windows for a half an hour every morning while I sat quietly in our sitting room and tried to read a guide book about things to do that day.
                Paris is nothing if not discreet. But that having been said, one should add that Discretion can be the better part of Envy. For each morning when we at about 9:30 came down the stairs to eat our breakfast either in the hotel or in one of the cafés, all eyes would be turned not on her, as you would expect with her striking good looks, but on me. I think my chest stuck out slightly more than it was meant to what with all those discreet and sly eyes looking me over and asking silently that rhetorical but nevertheless indiscreet question, Are you the one causing all that noise?




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