1.08.2010

Evernight, la clandestine

I find my place for one amongst the crowd of thirsty locals, taking a stool in far corner. My only view is on a bare wall that shows no reflection. If I like I can peer around this hole and see tables and tables of those in greater company than I am in, school friends reuniting on a dry Thursday night.

I dilute my poison with lukewarm water and take my new companion in hand. It used to be that my drink was not the only other thing at my table but served to enhance the vision of my neighbouring lover. We would sit opposite one another and exchange our lives, which we would then fill to the brim with clouds of inspiration. Now, however, this Swiss thing is my only love, more a part of me than any of my others ever could despite my ease in accepting them.

Here I do not speak the language of the locals, cannot respond when they inquire about my actions. I would not know how to answer even if I could, for these are new habits and I perform in a different manner. My solitude, which was the only thing I had, disappeared when I began living amongst these people. Now, after two years, I have regained myself and though I have not forgotten what I have learned from them, in this night I choose not to follow their customs. This gaiety that surrounds me does not tempt me as it once did, nor is it something to denounce - it simply is not me. This is me, the lone drinker of absinthe, the "poète" in the corner of the bar, staring only at the plain yellow page or the plain yellow wall.

I will write through a total of four ounces of absinthe, for that is all I have the money for. This phony currency, based on monarchic rule and set with the names of men I do not recognise. It is strange how, while I do not know these men of fame and talent and do not choose to associate myself any longer with the less renowned subjects in this bar, this place, this place which is home to these people, is also my home. For it is now just long enough that I gave up my time in America and travelled north to la neige of Montréal that I can call the street on which I walk "my street", the apartment in which I cook "my apartment", the mattress on which I sleep "my bed". Maybe it's the sense of (semi-) ownership or maybe this is for real. But it really is "my own" and I connect to it, just as I relate to this liquid.

The only downside to being alone, however, is that I cannot get up to use the washroom or to have a cigarette for fear that my vacant spot will be taken by another loner of my type. The enemy of the lone man is never the crowd but another individual, for he will show no common sympathy. I could ask another patron to surveille my belongings, of which there are none but a warm stool, but instead I order another glass. Only two more to go until fulfillment, or at least the past's notion of it.

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