Sunday, June 20, 2010
THROW AWAY THE KEY
"You must be waiting for you lover," he says, his head tilted to the side a bit, his moustache blowing in the wind.
"Not exactly..." I smile. He's not unattractive in that slightly dumpy ugly-sexy Harvey Keitel way.
"Whenever I see a woman alone on dis bridge, she is waiting for her lover. "
I just tilt my head back at him and frown slightly.
"Here, let me take your picture," He motions at the camera in my hand with his two fingers. It's a somewhat suggestive gesture.
And I'm a little worried as I hand him my camera.
"I'm a street photographer," He says. And he snaps a couple pictures. "People think this is the most romantic bridge in the world. They come here and they put the locks on the bridge and they srow the key in the water," he explains, as he hands the camera back to me and points to the chain-link railing on the Pont Des Artes.
I hadn't even noticed.
I was taken up by the view of Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame. But I look closer and I see them. All along this bridge there are locks of various colors and sizes.
"Oh my god!" I shout, so completely and unashamedly American in this moment that even the Accordian player has to laugh. "In that case, maybe I am waiting for someone," I say. "Who knows."
There are names carved into the locks the way we carved our names into the Redwood trees back home in Palo Alto when I was a kid. Mostly they are scratched into the metal or written in sharpie or nail polish, but a few are engraved with fancy lettering--some forethought went into that. One with an Hindu diety bulging out of it's gold facade has me mezmerized. I wonder whose lock is that? Every one of these locks has a story. A beginning, a middle, and an end.
I find myself imagining some poor soul clattering across the bridge in the dark with a bolt cutter. Still, he'll never get the key back. He'll get another lock, I tell myself. He'll find another key.
Just then it starts to rain the way it has been all week. And I thought Paris in June would be Sunny. Still, I think, as I wave goodbye to Bruno and fling my scarf over my head, there's even something romantic about that. Oh Paris, I do love you.