Nouvelle en anglais
Publiée dans TWIG magazine, Tomales Bay, Californie USA


The black shoe was jerking under the chair. Hitting and beating like an angry rattle snake. His tail pointing to an invisible thing under the ground. A thing hidden from our eyes.

My love was leaning against the concrete wall, listening to the music. Her eyes were half closed. Two heavy dark roses. She smiled at me. A tired smile but a smile though. We’ve been travelling for so many weeks. Our nights as bad as cheap jewels. Our days running away like sand. No remembrance at all.

I looked at the glass into my hands.
White wine has almost vanished.
Just a few sparkles of gold left.

The black shoe was jerking under the chair but nobody seemed to notice. Everybody was mesmerized by this guy’s hands, drifting on the piano keyboard. Black and white. Divided but linked though.

I licked the last golden stars in my glass. The guy in green nodded at me from behind the desk. As if he knew a secret thing about what was hidden under the pianist shoe.

When we entered the place, I first thought he was the cashier. I did not even notice the piano in the middle of the room. I was about to talk when he came to me with a big smile. “So, you’re the writer”. I didn’t understand. He held out glasses full of white wine to us. “You are our new neighbours, right? Welcome in our town” I felt the oily steel in my right hand. What should I do? Suddenly, my love laughed loudly, grabbing a glass. I looked at her. Tried to smile. Let the steel quiet in my pocket and grabbed my glass too. OK, let’s be the new neighbours. Until the end of the glass. Until the end of everything.

Then I heard the piano. A man started playing in the middle of the room. Everybody stopped talking and they stared at the man’s hands. The wine was fresh. So fresh comparing to the outside temperature. To my inner warmth.

A few minutes ago we stopped our car in front of the bank. The dark roses of my love’s eyes asked me Again ? It might turn bad. It might be the last time. I smiled at her. What else? We had to finish what we started. We kissed deeply and I put the gun in my pocket.

The black shoe of the musician was jerking under the chair. Hitting and beating. I recognized Thelonious Monk. Everybody was listening to music. Nobody seemed to notice that the rattle snake’s tail was pointing a secret thing under the ground. Nobody seemed to notice that we were not the new neighbours. Nobody seemed to notice that a piano in the middle of a bank is a weird thing. Maybe was it normal in this town? Who knows ? We saw so many strange things these last weeks.

My love leaned against the wall. Her heavy dark roses swinging to music. She smiled at me. I felt the weight of steel in my right pocket and I relaxed myself and I drank the fresh wine, forgetting for a while all these weeks of black blood and white nights. Finally, it was not so bad to be the new neighbours. As I started to feel pleasantly fuzzy I remembered I saw the letters on the wall of the building when we went out of the car. They were saying “It is NOT a bank”. What else could it be ? All was suddenly so strange. I took a look at the piano. It was an old instrument. I realized that things are not only what they are supposed to be. But they are also what they used to be once. The piano used to be a tree. This building used to be a bank. The pianist used to be a black coloured man. I looked at the shoe of this man, that shoe that used to be animal skin. That black shoe. Hitting and beating the ground. Pointing to an invisible thing that everybody seemed to forget. Ancient times. When there was not even a building there. Not even a bank, not even a town, not even a white man or a black man. Only stones. Rattle snakes. Mountain lions. My love’s head was swinging to the music. I asked myself what we used to be? What are we now? After all these weird weeks?

One day, on a empty morning, we left behind us banks and bailiffs and the few we got. So we started roaming. Just a car. The treasure of my two heavy dark roses eyes’ love. And a gun in my right pocket. We spread fear and blood in order to forget fear and blood and, most of all, emptiness. We crossed empty suburbs. Ruined factories. We ran out of money. Our love was vanishing. Bleached by blood and despair. Everywhere, we were strangers. Strangers to ourselves. And now we were drinking wine and listening to that guy playing Thelonious Monk. For a while I thought that things could be easy. Could we be new neighbours? I thought we cannot forget because remembrance is a part of us. Stones, rattle snakes, lion mountains, banks, emptiness. All is divided and linked.

We entered the bank and the green man called us neighbours and gave us glasses of gold and the man started to play jazz on the piano. For a while, I thought that it could be simple to kill fear. A gun is useless. You just have to remember everything from the very first time. Facing these rocks and snakes and emptiness.

The black shoe stopped jerking. The man’s hands lying on the keyboard. Everybody’s hands clapping. Hitting and beating. Even my love’s ones. Hitting and beating. A living heart.

I heard a woman asking the pianist how he managed to remember all theses tunes.
He said : “I just have to remember”.

I knew what was hidden under the black shoe.

The remembrance of what we are and what we used to be.

I felt a hand leaning on my shoulder. “Welcome to our town” said the man in green with a smile. The steel in my pocket was cold now. “As you’re a writer, you should write on this afternoon.”

I promised something.

We drove to the ocean. The sky was grey and misty. The soft sand under our feet. We kissed deeply as the sun went down. It was so quiet. So easy. No more mysteries. Like if we found what was hidden our own skins. My love said : We could rest there for a little. Why not?
Then she made appear a bottle of wine. Fresh white gold she stoled at the bank. Well, it was not a bank any longer.

It was not a bank but we were still in love.