The Tulip

We spent the night at the Pavilion. Not from a lack of homes to return to, or beds to sleep in, but of anything better to do. We spent the night on one of the benches separating each tulip garden from the next–in the company of homeless Samaritans and hoodlums looking for trouble. Memories leading up to this point are fuzzy. Unsurprising. After all, no amount of parenting, good or bad, can purge the innate teenage tendency to overindulge. *blank* Kids, which we undoubtedly were back then, on their pilgrimage through narrow cul-de-sacs and empty boulevards, impatiently waiting for the dawn chorus. A ritual entrusted for millennia to blackbirds and robins but in recent history co-opted by bakers rushing to work on barbaric two-wheelers. Kids following the vibrations of the Notre Dame's bell past the old town zing, across the canals zing, and through La République, unaware of time passing by. Not understanding the fleeting power of their youth. My memory came back alive when strolling down the park's grand avenue. The sun had not yet risen giving the amber streetlights reason enough to accompany us as we approached the Pavilion. None of us could divert our gazes away from its art nouveau panes depicting fornicating nymphs, elves dancing around a fire, and a lonely gnome sitting cross-legged in the shade of an oak, meditating on his friends' actions. We sat and waited for daybreak, so we could all return home. I slept for a moment then woke up. My brain was clockwork, commanding the neuron firing squad to understand where exactly I was all over again. She thrust my body upright, stumbled forward, spent excessive minutes fumbling with my trousers' zipper, trying to unzip it, only to realize it had been open all along. Silly me! I took a wee on the tulips. Flowers that mere centuries ago–not long in the grand scheme of things–would have been worth a fortune, were now being watered but with a liquid other than water. It was impossible to suppress the thought, if only there was some way to recreate this magical process but instead piss all over collateralized debt obligations, options, and anything ending in dot com; fleece them of their dignity the way they did everyone. Return the favor, to put it kindly. But alas, Mother Nature will not oblige… After all, tulips never hurt anyone… Unlike some other permanent residents of our Pavilion benches. Crooks by circumstance, the latter absolving them of all crimes and wrongdoings. Here we have it, nurture putting its dominance over nature on display once again, forcing people down paths had you told them they would go down in the maternity ward right after birth, they would reply “not a chance fool!”–if babies could talk, that is. Among them was a particular fellow who went by the name Leon, Siberian Leon. The closest man ever got to bear, and an old friend of ours. See, he lived under a bridge near the old tavern where we wasted away, lived off favors and garbage, had a kid somewhere in the Ukraine–no recollection of him ever mentioning a wife or lady, although, being extremely enterprising that he was, one might suspend disbelief and imagine he said, ‘screw god' and gave birth himself–anyways, he always, always needed a fiver for a pint of blonde. Close your eyes, picture this, a tall glass, slimmer and blonder than a Scandinavian supermodel, fizzling, waiting to break loose at any moment, extremely sensitive to movement, a mother nine months in, the most beautiful pint you could imagine. Until you sip and taste piss. Stuff invariably looks better than it usually is. Leon dragged himself over to our plot of land and asked for a fiver. Predictable bastard. I gave him it. Ditto. In due time the bakers begun scuttling by, the blackbirds and robins chirped in a crescendo, soon the tits, sparrows and finches lent their voices too. Our neighbors overcame their drunken stupor. It was time for us to go home, act fresh, greet our families, eat breakfast, be organic, regular, mundane! Act like nothing ever happened. Surreal. Only a muddy tulip in my back left pocket to prove it.

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