A month had past since Harry had been met by Sandrine at Gare Du Nord. Their routine together had settled into an ongoing reclusive death spiral of incessant lovemaking punctuated by sedentary tedium. The attraction that he felt for her became an obsession ranging far beyond anything expected within a normal pairing of man with woman. The small flat had become an emotional sanctuary that served to shield both from unwanted realities lurking in the street below. When they went out to replenish necessary staples it was only at odd hours when both vehicle traffic and humanity were at their lowest ebb. There was always the television babbling away to babble on about the inconsequential details of societies foibles and failings to round the edges off any remaining desires for reconciliation with the outside world. Harry had exhausted both his meager wardrobe and his overseas bank account. He wondered if he should bother to call back to make arrangements for the rescue of a pittance of material possessions that languished away in his own apartment almost two months past due in rent. “That was the privilege of the working poor.”, he thought. To disappear without notice and not raise any alarm beyond consternation at the monetary inconvenience of their continued absence. “Someone back at home might have caught his name weeks before in the brief article of a passing daily journal amidst a report of the injured. It was more likely that the topic of his whereabouts would simply lead in a month or two more of eviction of his official legal entity and the artifacts suggesting a corporal correspondence of a missing human being summarily disposed of. When he queried his inner thoughts he could not even bother to care. He was in a different universe now where such things had ceased to count. He was perfectly amenable to trading his longstanding personal fantasies for a more immediately palpable one however temporal. If perfection in life was accidental the fragility of the moment demanded immediate commitment. In his case, there wasn’t any argument necessary.
The matter of legality in the present sphere however had occurred to him that while through the fact of his notoriety in official circles might cut him some slack he would have to at some point declare his presence in France to local officials or face the eventual possibility of expulsion. The application of an extended visa seemed a reasonable solution though he had not been motivated enough up to this point to broach the subject with his new soul mate. Their commerce was reserved for a more animal realm of close physical sensuality of caressing and the general exclusion of anything that might prevent continued embrace. It seemed odd at times how this had become an almost narcotic attraction. Something by all rights, both should have wearied of in the first weeks. The bond between them seemed unbreakable like a steel padlock with no question of the misplaced key having to be sought. The only dissonant thoughts coming occasionally from the threat of something exterior that might interfere with their continued descent into their melding self. Harry’s clothing, when he had the occasion to wear the same, had descended into a pitiful condition. Constant rinsing in the sink had taken its toll in an unwholesome state that even a ‘clochard’ might recoil from. His curiosity about his surroundings had not led to any need for exploration but it occurred to him there might be some slim possibility of male clothing that would be an adequate replacement. Sandrine had as was her periodic during any given day wont disappeared to another room. He rose from the bed and pulled aside a screen to expose the doors of a large almost floor to ceiling armoire hoping to find a pair of misappropriated trousers. He past each of the garments from hand to hand, pulling each forward from the crush of same hanging within. As expected, the feminine contents ranged from curiously exotic to the occasionally formally severe. Items that he might imagine reserved for solemn occasions like funerals or church services. One seemingly formless flowing gown caught his eye. It seemed to be fashioned in the manner of the sort of dust coverlet that one might throw over furniture when leaving for an extended period of time except it was pure black instead of the customary light colored fabric. As he pulled it off from the enclosure’s wooden hanger he noticed a bit of netting providing an opening at its summit similar to the headdress of a bee keeper. “A ‘burqa’!”, a light within his own head snapped on. “What in the world would this be doing here?”, he breathed out to himself thinking simultaneously its discovery presented a certain sense of mild irony. He looked about the surrounding room wondering it there was any other artifact that might substantiate the necessity for its appearance in this setting. Unlike most French homes where might have expected to see some form of ancient sign of nationally shared influence of Catholicism in the form of a grandmother’s rosary or obligatory long desiccated Palm Sunday fronds retained from previous generations. The décor was remarkably absent of such trinkets. He stuffed it back between and dispelled the effect of the unexpected shock of his discovery back in place in oblivion.
The sound of Police siren tirelessly chiming from a far distance rose from down the avenue. Their occasional presence had been merely a reminder that threat of foreign chaos still reigned in different corners of the city. But now this rising sound seemed unusually annoying. Sandrine sat upon the small couch in her usual Sphinx-like reserve her dark eyes immobile and vacant before the montage of passing images upon the television screen. The space on the cushion just beside her presented a deep impression of the recent development of the arrival of his presence. Without hesitation or comment, he filled that void. Like two pythons in mating season they immediately entwined each settling relaxed into the narcoleptic warmth that the other provided. The sirens buzzed about in the distance like horseflies. The news reader bespoke of a new discovery just uncovered in the district. Some workers in the Metro on line 7 at Censeur Daubentton had discovered the tattered charred remnants of a suicide belt sans the explosives. The location being only a few blocks down where the tributary of Rue Monge fed the larger avenue. That was right near Square Adanson south of the Grand Mosque by us”, Harry thought to himself. The Police Nationale had cordoned off the area were now busily combing the area for clues and anyone of interest in the area that might have information the announcer went on. Sandrine had pulled away from their embrace and seemed unconsciously entangled within her own embrace. “Combien temps c’doit continuer . . . ? “, she breathed. He extended his embrace leaning over to encapsulate her curled form and found it had uncustomarily gone cold. “That tireless sense of irreparable trauma that they both shared,”, he recited to himself as he tried to warm her. Something deep within newly arrived within him kept its opinion quietly to itself.