La traversée

July 9, 2020

I’m twenty years old. 

Arriving in a foreign city with little or no support, my sole resource is what the street gives me with its cold hand. 

I drag my wiry body through one night to the next. 

Refusing to sleep, I enjoy the headiness of it all, as if the stars were falling inside of me. Beneath the tawny glow of the lights spread across the ceiling, I dance to forget the emptiness.

He approaches me from the right.

It is the music that keeps me standing there when he asks me how old I am, what I do, where I come from. He is like out of a weird dream, with the bright eyes of a cat, two clear glass spheres scouring the world in every direction.

The very next day I step inside the clinical space that is his office. 

Everything is clean, white. The sum of all the rooms I have been through in recent years would not cover the surface of the place I am in now. 

There is so much light that it seems to be pouring out of the walls.

I am dazzled, I feel naked.

On the wall, identical clocks tell the time in cities as distant to me as they are unreal. 

Tokyo. London. New York. Paris. Paris, which seems to be up in the sky as I cross the city from one railway station to the next. Paris that never wants to stop and hang around, that I know so little about. 

Its bohemian past, whose shadows I can only kiss. 

Even here I don’t know what time it is.

He turns my body in front of the window and says that maybe these clocks will tell me the time of my future. Here, London is a possible tomorrow. Paris whispers my name just behind the door.

I get the ticket within a few days. 

I’ve never been on a plane before. 

Seeing those tons of metal lifting off from the ground with a thrust of jet engines is scary, I close my eyes.

Arriving in the hustle and bustle of the backstage area, I unconsciously rub my hands, reddened by a little nervousness. 

Creams are applied to the taut skin of youth. 

How strange, a world where everyone is beautiful, almost naked. 

I have the impression of being composed only of water, as diaphanous as the air around me, crossed by every ray of light. But the softness wraps itself around me.

I lean my head into an ocean of warmth. 

A thousand mouths, as many interconnected weaves embracing my sides, keeping my eyes from piercing.

With my feet firmly secured to the ground by boots, I walk with them on a different Earth. Nothing has changed, everything has changed. 

I have the armour I need to face the arena, the ritual garment that makes me a prince.

Chosen from the crowd amongst others, my name does not matter. 

I’m still anonymous. But I represent something else. I’m an embodiment.

They have adorned me for so many days. 

I carry with me hours of finesse, nights of precision. 

I carry a story that isn’t mine, and I self-efface beneath the legend. 

I disappear when everyone sees me. I am what I wear.

I am the boots, the knitwear, the coat.

I have no sword, no dragon to fight, just the square to walk from side to side.

I move in time to the rhythm of a pounding heart, I keep the distance required for the crowing moment. I turn, I disappear.

Behind the scenes, stripped of the apparel of angels, I walk towards the end of the mirage.

I have left the magic in the changing room. 

Have recovered the tiredness of worn-out fibres, carried with me day after day throughout my road-weary existence.

But I can still feel the weight of it all, I can still hear the sound of my footsteps on ice.

I move on with, all around me, the aura of a fabulous coating that has gone forever.

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