june 12 2007 paris corner

When I was seventeen I went to Paris with my French class. In Paris in the hotel courtyard our tour guide spoke to us and I became conscious and unconscious like Venetian blinds opening and closing rapidly because I was jet lagged. My head fell onto my chest and lifted and fell. The tour guide scolded me.

At night in the hotel we couldn’t sleep. It was very hot. We pulled the bedclothes onto the fat plaster balcony and lay there. There was my friend Maja, who had long legs, and an eighteen-year-old called Erin whose grandmother had given her this trip as a birthday gift. We were all intensely excited.

Across the way there were those faceted Parisian buildings. They were not very far from our balcony. Their windows were open. In one lighted window there were shapes the color of pit fruit moving. At length I became aware that I was watching a man and a woman having sex. We looked at them and discussed them, although it seemed incredible. This was the first time I had ever seen sex.

We couldn’t sleep on the balcony because its surface was too hard. We went indoors. We pushed the beds together and slept on one great form. I don’t know why we did that—it must have been hot. Sometime in the night Maja, who slept in the center, woke me and the other girl by yelling. The beds had drifted from one another under her very scant weight and she was falling between them, hanging in the white sheets like a paratrooper in a tree. It was very confusing in the dark. The next morning we teased her for it. That wasn’t nice.

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