Saturday, February 28, 2009


I was reading an article in the paper about a French Cinema Series coming to Lincoln Center. One of the featured films, already acclaimed, was Seraphine de Senlis, about an early 20th Century artist. But "Senlis" started playing over and over in my head, I was remembering...what?....
I jumped over the hedge of memory.
We were strolling from the Cathedral, Pierre and I on the sidewalk, Gerard somehow straggling far behind, then running to catch up. "What's the matter with you two today"? Too hot to answer. "Have we fallen into a black hole or what"?
My last day in Paris, we decided to show me the 11th Century Church of Notre Dame at Senlis, not too far a drive from Paris. I always stayed with Pierre and Gerry, and when they came to New York, they stayed with me. We would walk along Park Avenue and try to peek into posh windows, reaffirm that one day we would buy a place like that together.
Gerry was an American from Boston. It was I who convinced him to give up his great career in New York, go to Paris, find Pierre, and for God's sake, be happy for a change. We met on a job. He was the greatest makeup artist in the world, and I was a makeup artist. It was love at first sight for the two of us. Figure that one out. We were just these utterly compatible strands of DNA that laughed all the time. I asked for no more.
I didn't know why we were all so picky in Senlis. I, as usual, fell into a deja vu trance upon entering the Church. Place me in an ancient church, or let me stroll a Gothic
Cloister, and I'm sunk in the thankless task of trying to retrieve my past. But only
in France. You can probably figure out what I believe.
The stone floor in the church had deep indentations, smoothed through the
centuries by a parade of souls praying for salvation from wars, famines, Kings, and plagues. I look back at the moments spent within, gazing upwards, past the illuminated clarity of the windows. I'm sure I asked a few questions of the cosmic air about my concerns, never letting a Holy opportunity pass me by.
How do you address the Plague? Do you cower, do you pray, do you deny? I do. I was leaving France, and I had seen the leering face of the Green Man lurking at my friends doorstep. So this was going to be the last time I saw Gerry? I didn't know that in Senlis. I knew something though. Pierre could be glum. He was French. Did Gerry know? He was always in a dream anyway, but a creative, beautiful one. His spirit had begun to hide. That day in Senlis had a prediction in it of days ending. Black hole indeed.
It wasn't immediate, of course. Another year. Blindness, mindlessness. A phone call from Pierre. Gone...but, Lyn, he just looks so beautiful, he looks so much like himself.
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Natalie said...

Oh wow, what a post.
Lyn that was one where I was with you all the way. Does he visit you?
Apparently we have similar beliefs ~ I break out in a cold sweat every time someone mentions 'China' or the word 'concubine'. Hmm...


Anonymous said...

I don't give him a chance to visit..his picture sits on my Puja, amidst all the other saints and angels, hearing my prayers each morning.
It's funny about what we know to be true about ourselves..Thank you, dear Nat...

A Cuban In London said...

What a lovely tale! And I loved the introductory sentence. 'I jumped over the hedge of memory'. There's an image of which I am sure you're proud. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Anonymous said...

A Cuban-
Where do good phrases come from? ..I just hope the "source" keeps sending them! In remembering "Senlis" a whole time came back.
Thank you for your insight....

Butternut Squash said...

How strange. I think I may have to read more to figure out what is going on.

Something you might like to know. My name is Jeri Gerard.

Anonymous said...

Well, didn't I just let out a whoop! Terrific name..
A memory of love and losing, isn't ultimitely a loss. Thank you so much...

Dave King said...

Not for the first time, I'm with our friendly Cuban in London. I, too, was struck by the opening, and, yes, it is an incomparable tale. Wow! would seem to sum it up!

Anonymous said...

Really happy to hear what you have to say! I guess we never know what will stir a deep memory.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate your comment-but my computer decided not to let me post it! I did read your kind words...thank you.

Kristin Dombrowski said...

Notre Dame is a wonderful, enchanting cathedral--just one of the many incredible places of inspiration in Paris! Very nice piece!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to go back, in more ways than one! Thank you...

Unknown said...

Hi Lyn,

Just playing catchup with my reading! This is a beautiful piece. I was really glad to join you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Derrick-
Thank you.. those were the best times, all over the map of France!


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