Leaving Paris was nowhere near as fun as arriving but still full of je ne sais quois. There were just a few last things I wanted to do before I left. I had seen a health food shop in my quartier yesterday so I wanted to be prepared for the long train ride. I stopped in to get some juices and granola and came back out many Euros later with some nice smelling shampoos and cosmetics along with a scanty amount of health bars and juice drinks. I decided to augment with some fruit. Stopping by a fruit stand, I picked some green bananas and a few apples.
Time check revealed I had just enough time to stop for one last petit dejeuner before heading back to check out of the hotel and take a taxi to la Garre l’East. I found a busy outdoor café that smelled fantastic. Wanting breakfast and getting it were two different things. I waited a long time for waiter, café au lait and la croissant avec les oeuffs. Getting nervous about the train schedule I stopped short of ordering chocolat and took one last stroll down St. Denise.
It was about 10 in the morning and I couldn’t get over the red light hustle and bustle on Saturday morning. Realizing I hadn’t taken pictures here yet and in all likelihood would never see these people again, I could stop playing it cool and snap a few photos on my way out. As I reached the corner to turn down the street to Hotel Baby, I got my camera out and strange feelings of alarm gripped the back of my head and spine. There were a couple of women dressed up even at this early morning hour, making me think of the morning after a Halloween party. But this was no party for them, it was sordid day to day life.
I brought my camera up and started taking a picture. One of the prostitutes, a tall gaunt back lady turned and stared at me, as if casting some evil eye. She pointed and fearing some body guard or pimp might come running after me, I ducked back behind the corner. My heart was racing and I could feel adrenaline coursing even though all I had done was stand there and snap a photo. I imagined all sorts of voodoo legends and vampire tales and decided to get back to the hotel quickly and find a taxi to la Garre l’East.
The cab ride from hotel Baby to the train station was silent. The desk clerk had handled giving the driver the directions for me. I thought about the prostitutes whose pictures I had stolen. Feeing distinctly that it had been some transgression on my part, I wondered what it was like to hustle sex on a Saturday morning so publicly and how rude it was of me to steal a preserved image of their humiliation, thus making it eternal. These thoughts were fleeting, but I would come back to them at length wondering how far that curse would extend.