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Find me

By Pierre VAVASSEUR Sofitel Lyon Bellecour

I am a collector of words. When I wander around, one could call me the “leaning man”. At home, I have a whole lot of lost papers that have been mistreated by the weather, and soiled by the feet of passerby. Of course, once I have gathered them – as if they had been saved from the river, brought back to life– I have to sort them out like the wheat from the chaff, and pick between the love declaration and the shopping list. The shopping list is always intact, written on a small piece of paper, without finishing. The love letter, as well as the break up letter, share the same singularity when they end up in the gutter : they are torned into pieces. I never found complete ones. The pace of the city spoils them and spreads them like a puzzle.
Sometimes I went around for an entire day searching the area. One piece here, another there. It is a thorough work to put them back together, and then as you read me, you could think this is not very rewarding. I am not so sure. There are some surprises. Let me tell you about the Lyon story.

My name is Jeunesse Galeazzi. I am Mexican by my father, hence the name that keeps me from growing old, and Corsican by my mother, I inherited a taste for silence and solitude. I am a screen writer. Not only am I the “leaning man”, I am also the “hidden man”. It suits me. Let me be invited to festivals, debates, parties… One has a misconception about great destinies. I am forty, and for the the last 20 years my destiny has designated me to remain in the shadow of the Lumière. The roman wolf had two sons. The Lyon lioness too. Even if I live in Paris, Lyon is my foster mother. But look at the screenwriters. They are like this breed of novel writers, untrustworthy. Constantly playing hopscotch on parallel roads. So, it is early December. In Lyon, Lumière is spelled in the plural, Lumières. Every evening, as night falls, the city goes to sleep, flares, turns green in winter, pats her blue on the shadow, dressed in pink hollyhock. It is the White Night in colors. Last night, we stumbled as a crowd on the slopes of Fourvière, on Rosary Road. Under the spotlight, the holy Josephs in their niche had bloody faces. I trampled floral symphonies. Senator-Mayor shook my hand three times although he had no idea of my person. These are the politicians, always more clever.

Today, it is raining a bit. With short strokes. We are dry quickly. We meet the leaning man. Weighted with brains weaver – cottage cheese, garlic, chives – and a sapper’s apron – beef tripe – because one knows how to live when one is a screenwriter, I see this broken pane of paper on the ground . It is as handsome as a lost handkerchief. It is written on with a round blue ink. Here is what I read in it. « I know you are here, in town, and that you walk around looking for me. »
Of course, I look around me. I am on rue Mercière. Stuck in traffic. My apron on my belly. Am I being joked at ? Only as late as last night, during a debate, I was saying that scripts, before they are finished, dance improbable jigs. A lot of hard work and sweat for it. Who would have concocted that ? And, am I being watched? Behind the café Façade’s window, the waitress seems to be smiling. She is a pretty little hind with honey cheeks. But no, she turns away, slides into the shadow of her fish bowl. A siren who went back to the depths of the ocean. In front, and behind, no wandering gaze. I stand alone with the notes I have found.

I tucked the note in my wallet and the wallet against my heart, the ideal place for love notes. I went around town. It was not very cold despite it being December. Lyon was a warm fawn, with a quiet breath. Maybe because of the water, two rivers for one city, it is luxury. A soft coat. The bridges, our caresses. I walked in clouds of memories. For example, I barely knew one of my mother’s sister who committed suicide here. The news, a silent grenade, and immediately put under a new choking and chalk.
How old was I? Dead where? In the Croix-Rousse. I am going there. I climb the Grande Côte. Not at all what I had imagined. I thought it was like a cliff. Those memories too far from us, too buried, are close to dreams. On the Grande Côte climb. From the plateau to Caluire, this city has many beginnings. It is a long way to Caluire. There is even a no man’s land with pharmacies.
Behind its surrounding walls, the house where Jean Moulin was arrested bathes in some blurry iced sugar. It is straight, blind with its shutters like sealed lids . She has some reproaches. I went back to the the perch in between the children’s balloons. At the Café du bout du monde, I broke all the silences. There was a pretty singer, Noah Lagoutte, www.noahlagoutte.com. I ate duck and opened up my wallet. The little note was more alive. It was less cold. Less afraid. It was like a cat. Cats let you know pretty quickly that you live in their home. I read it again. « I know that you are here, in town, and that you are walking looking for me. »

I had lunch with Philippe at Tartuffo, an Italian restaurant a few steps away from the Sofitel. The boss is called Marco. Philippe is my childhood friend. In class, I used to copy on him.
He would get angry red. “ That’s what it is, and I work for the King of Prussia!”. He had principles. He wanted to be a teacher of Latin and Greek. He became a journalist. I observe him while he walks towards me. He has the same massive forehead under his hair brushed with tin. On our lips, this tensed smile. There is nothing we can do. There is something stiff in this reunion soon abolished by the firm held hand. Let’s seal what must be sealed. There is no more adolescence. We sail on what escapes us and what does escape us is immense. We do not even talk about the past. I tell him something incredible is happening to me. Yes my dear, an old note I found on the floor in front of Gaston’s, a farm restaurant. I show it to him. He tells me- I am not surprised, I have lived in Lyon for 27 years- it is a city full of scripts. We talk about Fourvière, about Croix-Rousse. He adds, you have to go to Saint-Ju. You write Saint-Juston but pronounce Ju, Saint-Ju. We split at the tram. His smile is loose. He became a child in the city. We are two children.

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