Buck, Joan Juliet:
"Paris," she said, "slows time while accelerating
growth. Everything rots in Paris, especially Americans."
He had a deep voice with various tones to it, and he'd stand
at the bottom of the stairs and shout, "Julia!" and
the air in the house would be a little damaged until the boom
had died away.
I thought about the metal and the glass that had killed her.
I said metal and I said glass. Behind the words, and in front,
was the crushing empty space, a sky of boulders.
The only ethical condition I attached to my behavior was that
I would not touch any man married to any girl I knew. I proceeded
therefore a little like the knight on the chessboard, soliciting
and responding always two away and diagonally across from where
I sat. I was fond of men at other tables.
Sylvie and I had to go to sit in the Flore after lunch. We
had not yet been seen that day, and we needed to be looked at
while we talked.
She went on: "You see, I love Marc, I really love him.
And I want to marry him."
My father's lessons in taste had left me with a disdain for
art that used shorthand sentiment: sunsets, dawns, birds, children,
rainbows. He liked the beautiful only if it was in a dead, unknown,
or forgotten language. He couldn't bear to read the words Joy,
or Beauty, or Sorrow, or Happiness, or Soul, or God, and snickered
at anyone who used them.
Now I was forced to do some formal thinking. Good, bad, happy,
sad. The notions came in cubes that fell like dice.
If I couldn't be happy, I would have to be rich. Madame Ambelic
always said it was better to cry in a Rolls-Royce than in the
"Will it last?" I asked.