by Mette Jakobsen
Everyone carries a fall, said Béatrice, it’s only a question of time. I nodded, scrolling through the inbox, thinking of you. Béatrice sighed and went back to hitting the keyboard with a harsh rhythm from her strawberry-painted nails. I knew how her fifty-something colored curls would now dance around her cheeks, little squares of fake gold glimmering in her plumb earlobes.
I didn’t give it any further thought before catching the Métro later. Standing at the top of the stairs, just about to enter the overheated underground abandoning the pearly fresh Parisian evening, her words suddenly hit me again. A stumbling slow-motion, caused by a pebble, a chewed piece of gum, an accidental till slip. Fumbling in nothingness but only finding empty air to catch. Hands hesitatingly trying to determine which part to protect: skull, shoulders, teeth. The crackling sound of bone against stone, and then, nothing. Slowly waking up, watching the floating expressions of strangers above, mouths moving in foreign whispers. Maybe they will help me back on my feet; maybe they will call for an ambulance. And you will be waiting in your fifth floor apartment. The carefully chilled wine becoming tepid. You will never understand why I don’t show up.
I cling to the railing all the way down without the anticipated accident. I catch my train without further complications. I get off at Jacques Bonsergent. Just in case I take the escalator back up to the surface. You are waiting for me.