Why Did You Leave Me, Mr. Camus?
By Liz Larrabee
Madness would have mercifully ended the reign of my martyr motherhood had it not been for my irrepressible flights, undone at dawn. Our adjoined garret rooms above a rowdy cabaret on the Left Bank, my ancient Smith Corona clacks in duet with Hemingway’s. Fitzgerald’s divine aura in smoking silhouette against a street lamp in the alley fades into a dim shadow as I struggle against the bed sheet that has fallen half way to the floor.
I cling tight to illusion long enough to find myself humming Lili Marlene into the chilly evening, my long-blocked novel about to burst with overwhelming inspiration. The Stranger’s footsteps closing in, I’m about to succumb to my pounding desire when the damn dawn bursts between the slats of the window blinds and shatters the best part. I squint against the sunlight for a few seconds, and then I stretch and yawn as if to stave off the weariness of another wide awake day in the summer of ‘72.
Hemingway, tired of living, has pulled the shotgun’s trigger. F. Scott has drowned in mint juleps. My Stranger has crashed an eternity too soon. What is left now but to wait for my gritty remains to find their way to his stardust and settle my claim?
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