“Just like last year, we start with a drink at the Centre Pompidou café. She talks about the same books, develops the same theories about emotional attachment and how to rid yourself of it. She’s seeing the same man, he’s still afraid to commit. Once again, she suggests walking to the Café de Flore in hopes of perhaps bumping into an old flame, the famous photographer who publishes pictures of very young women, topless, and who undoubtedly sleeps with quite a few of them. She had a brief relationship with him, ten or so years ago, and she claims that he is fascinating, scholarly, and wise underneath these airs of – let’s not mince our words – sexual perversion.
I order a tomato juice, she gets a Coke. “Regular,” she repeatedly tells the waiter. “A regular Coke,” he repeats politely.
Suddenly, she’s quivering. There’s the photographer. He walks in as though he owns the place, chin raised, dark sunglasses resting on his nose. By his side, a curly-headed blonde. She can’t be more than twenty years old.
They go and sit inside. I’m asked to go use the restroom and gather as much information as possible on my way.
Going in, I see: a very young girl, golden locks, idiotic face, short skirt, big belt. Beside her, a man, time-ravaged, close to sixty and not happy about it. He has placed a fat hand on the young girl’s thigh. She stares straight ahead. They don’t speak.
Coming out, I see: a very young girl typing on her mobile phone. Beside her, a man typing on his mobile phone. They don’t speak.
I sit back down and tell everything. She is fascinated, darting her eyes madly from right to left, asking, “Do you really think she’s that young? Was she truly on her phone?”
She really is, she truly was.
Once home, I receive an email. I’ve been sent a link to the man’s Instagram account. There’s a photo of the very young girl. She is topless.
I click on her name and reach her own account. The first photo is of a teacup. Café de Flore, the teacup says. There’s also a floral skirt, a bare thigh, and, resting on top, a man’s fat hand.
‘PARIS city of love,’ she’s written, and : #paris #cityoflove #cafeflore #parisbynight”
This text was originally written in French by Emma G. and translated to English by Kimberly Z.