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A Manon from the past
by Katerina Charisi
2016-03-28 12:35:06
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Emily, Emily. You never learn. It was all there. Laying in front of you, but you didn’t want to see it. It was the scumbag and the wrong woman. It was them and you. Just there. In front of your eyes. But you didn’t want to see.

I was in the room upstairs staring my feet. There is spider web in the corner of the window. I suppose this is my room and I have to keep it clean. But how long this spider has been there? And has this spider seen? I left my feet and I started looking at the web. Here was she. I could see her slowly scrolling from the top left corner. I stood up and checked outside. Too much, too old dust stuck on the glass. Francis was there. Looking at me.

manon01_400Instinctively I moved back from the window. She wouldn’t have seen me, too much dust. There was something about this woman. A warning. For good or evil, I didn’t know. Back then. Was I the wrong woman, Francis? I wanted to scream.

Slowly I reached the window again. The spider was still there, Francis had left. I returned to the bed and looked around. This wardrobe is not enough for both of us, I had to think of something. And there were not enough drawers. Where do they put their pants in this house? I laughed with myself and looked at my feet again.

New Orleans suddenly seemed so far away. There was no quiet in Orleans but there was music. Not just noise. There was music always, somewhere in the background giving you some kind of beat you had to follow. Here there was a spider. And Francis. The spider didn’t have music and Francis didn’t have the beat.

Manon; that was her name. I don’t know how suddenly she came to my mind but there was no Manon less Manon than her in the whole world. There was nothing Manon about her. I don’t know how a Manon should look like but when she said her name I thought that it was the most inappropriate name for this woman. Actually I was not even sure she was a woman the first moments when I first met her.

“Bonjou” she said and I got confused. She pulled this ‘u’ in the end for too long. Creole I thought and I nodded.

“Alo.” I answered sure that this was the way you say ‘hello’ in creole. My only words.

“Kòman ou ye?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

She stopped smiling and looked at me. I must have looked scared. I mean here was this …this black woman covered in layers of fabric, not very clear man or woman, gigantic size making me feeling like a dwarf – and I thought of myself as tall – with the deeper voice I ever heard.

“Ki kote ou soti?” She asked again a bit more aggressively this time.

manon02_400“Look I work there, at the café. If you need something come with me and I’m sure we will find somebody to help you.” I tried not to show my fear.

And she started laughing!

“Honey, what’s wrong with? I bet there is no sun in the place you are coming from. Come little bird, let’s walk together. We are going to the same place and I know where you work.” And saying that she hanged me with her gigantic arms and I felt her breasts on my arm. This is when I realized that she was …she.

And there was something about her embrace. Some kind of warmth, centuries old.

“So, you don’t speak the lingua” She asked while we were crossing the street.

“I do speak a little French, but creole is so different.” I said shyly.

“This is New Orleans honey, everything is different.” She said in a whisper and then she laughed again. Her laugh was one of those that make heads turn, loud and heavy.

Manon was so beautiful, so big and so beautiful. Next morning we had coffee together and while we were talking her gigantic shadow was becoming smaller and smaller. It was turning into a protective cocoon full of warm feeling you could hide into. She was all fear and dark in the outside and a little teddy into the inside.

I checked again the window. The spider was still there. I checked outside. Francis nowhere to see. Francis, so hard in the outside and in the inside …I looked at my feet again.

“Why the hell my feet are so dirty since the moment I stepped in this house?”

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