Friday, 15 July 2016

The sky leaks, Brel bleeds and I cry.


It’s a long time since I’ve seen rain leak so heavily from the sky - it makes me feel quite righteous for having wrecked myself cutting the grass last night instead of putting it off until today. Jacques Brel is bleeding mournfully out of the radio in the café and when his words combine with the rain dripping from my hair and with the thin morning light and the heavy smell of coffee grinds in the air, the resulting melancholy rises around me like steam. The rain bounces off the cars and empty pavement outside like Brel’s “perles de pluie”. It washes down the window I’m sitting beside distorting my view of the street, maybe also my view of life, as the poet rhymes “Bonheur” with “Coeur”, “malentendu” with “le temps perdu”. I could cry.

And in walks Annie, drenched, hair stuck to her cheeks and the warmest smile outlined by the reddest lipstick and turning each “perle de pluie” into another extravagant adjective. I’m no longer in Belfast as she smiles at the room and walks past me to the counter; I’m in Paris, café at the bottom of Rue Moufftard, and it’s still raining, the end of December, and she isn’t Annie she’s Maggi, but the lipstick is just as red. She’s wearing the big, creamy, ankle-length coat I bought her to cover up her bump and keep it warm. My heart swells.

Now I’m definitely going to cry. I’ll go outside so that people, if they look at me, might mistake my tears for “perles de pluie”.

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