Preludes – Les rubans et les cicatrices


Preludes is part 7 of Loss.

Les rubans et les cicatrices (The Ribbons and the Scars) is the same story told from two different perspectives;  ‘Him’ and Melanie, ‘the third wheel soon to become the first and the only’.  It has two pieces of music originally composed for the radio show ‘Fabrication de Bruit’.

Preludes takes place somewhere in the Loss narrative, I guess it is for you to decide where.  However, these events are referenced in Loss 6, which is why perhaps, they are called ‘Preludes’.

Melanie is played by Astrid

Loss is a discontinuous story, told from a number of perspectives, over an inconsistent timeline. Loss is the story of ‘her’ and ‘him’ and how they chose to exist and act in worlds close to, but not the same as each other. Loss is set in Tokyo, Paris, New York and Sydney, but doesn’t really concern itself with these cities.

There are a number of recurring motifs in Loss. Black ribbons, dirty scars, sour umeboshi and bright flames. They represent hiding places, consequences, sensations and redemptions, and not in that order, and perhaps not what they seem. Each piece has its own momentum and sense of motion, a contrast between the reflective narration of the characters and the need to move on, forget and get on with life.

for more, see

Him is played by me (in a French accent)

Les rubans et les cicatrices part un

There is a cliché about divorced American women.  Personally, I have tried to avoid it influencing the way I behave, but the people I meet assume I live it every day.  Yes, it involves sex, fucking and adultery.  However, I am not that cliché, despite this writer’s best intention to make me that way. 

I should have known that fucking someone else’s man never goes well.  There is just too much wrapped up in the act, the afterwards and the guilt that eats away at his daily life.  He goes back to her and pretends like nothing has happened.  That he hasn’t been inside me, screamed my name at the top of his voice and sunk into my sweaty arms, spent of everything but regret.

But happens when she finds out?  When she finds my stained lingerie in his jacket pocket and a million text messages on his iphone?  Baise-moi!  She slices deep gashes in her arms, petty and pointless blood red entrails spilling to the floor of a New York restroom.  Such is life.  She could have thrown herself under the metro for all I care.  She is only real in an abstract sense.  I have never seen her face, but have smelt her head on the pillow.  I have never heard her voice, except disconnected through the small speaker of voicemail.  I have never watched her body except in my imagination sleeping next to him  


This railway station, Gare Du Nord in Paris, represents the end point of my sense of normalcy.  We are anonymous and unseen, until we reach its cobbled platforms, where the softly-voiced announcer invites passengers ‘pour londres’ to board the train, accompanied by a lilting concerto of voice notes.


The click-clack of my red patent leather heels and low slide of his brown brogues are the soundtrack to the beginning and end of my relationship with him.  We are at the point where her world and his world begin to intersect. Outside these dirty walls and back to the steamed hotel room carpets and crumpled soiled bed sheets, her world never seemed to exist.  I prefer it that way, with the light and breeze of my world permeating places where she can’t reach. That was until the shrill burst and rattle of his phone slightly shook the china white cups of espresso on the plastic table outside the trackside café.  Insane mumbling snuck from the corner of his ear.  I could hear the sharp edges of her manic voice.  Black ribbons, dirty scars, sour plums and burnt films all intersected, then corrupted.  He was clearly not making sense of any of it.  His let his eyes roll upwards towards the giant yellow destinations on the indicator board.  I was sure that she could hear the announcements for the Eurostar, now boarding for Saint Pancras International in the background.      

 ‘Why are you there?’ questioned her almost disconnected voice crackling through the tiny speaker.

‘Why do you care?’, he answered, disconnected himself. ‘You need help!’, he snapped

‘I need you’, she whined.

‘Stop needing me, my shoulder is soaked from the voices left from your weeping’, he bit at her, almost resigned to the fact that this time it was over for good.  It didn’t matter where he was or why he was there.  She didn’t care.   He could have been next door fucking Emma, or with Irene, who had his cock in her mouth.  But he wasn’t.  He was with me.    


I could hear her breathing in the background.

I could hear him almost stop breathing in the foreground.

I could hear her whimpering the tears of the unjustly maligned.

I could hear him trying not to care.


Joining them, I stopped and sealed the air in my lungs.  I froze my red heels to the concrete and calmed the heart that was pushing up tight against my throat.  This was not about caring what she thought.  The tide of cliché was washing closer and closer to me.  Resistance Melanie!   Despite the temporary plunge into insanity when he had gone back to her for one final attempt to make things right, this time, I knew that these would be the last words he would speak to her as husband, lover, and soul mate.  There would never be more, at least not outside polite or official company.  It was also clear that it was my right not to allow it now.


She wouldn’t be able to suffocate him with pathetic attention and absent minded trust.  Her ever-present black ribbons tie her to a fantasy that never existed.  Her scars are not real.  They are disfigurements that lie toughened under the skin and seep into her sensibility.  Dark blood red petty jealousy is not a look that I admire.  Living, breathing, fighting, perhaps those I can pull off.  But she is transformed, diminished, damaged and broken.  She is an empty, tiring reflection, trapped in a mirror that only she can see.  She will drive him further away and closer to the simpler, transparent passion of the third wheel, soon to become the first, and the only.


He hangs up the phone and slowly, deliberately puts it in his breast pocket.  The last of the coffee is drained.  He stands there and looks at a mid-distance made even less interesting by the dark night.  I don’t want to move; in case the cliché smacks me square in the face.  The whore.  The traitor.  The harlot.  I don’t want him leeching sympathy, or even worse empathy.  That is not the way he needs to play the game.  I am in control.  We need to board the train back to London together.  Instead of turning right, he needs to turn left, up my stairs and into my bed.   And what of she; the wronged woman?  The victim in all of this?    Who?


Les rubans et les cicatrices part deux


I know that I am probably the biggest asshole in the world.  She knows it and he knows it. That’s why they walk straight past me.  Their heels clipping on the concrete, like little shotgun sounds of disdain, aimed directly at me.

Gare De Nord.  J’taime.  Non. 

For once, this story is told from my perspective.  Are you listening? You won’t hear any pathetic whining about being left by a bastard. Because it was this bastard that did the leaving.  Moi.  Ici. In this very station.  Over coffee and a stolen, flash hot image of Melanie’s red heels and seamed stockings. 

You might think that stories like this should be full of redemption, or excuses or perhaps even the sadly romantic notion of last minute reunions at the door of departing trains.  Gare de Nord, the maroon Thalys easing out the platform. People dripping quiet, muffled tears as the trains wash out of the station like the tide. Connerie

Gare de nord. Fous les comp. Oui

I am bored now.  I have nothing to say and even less to add.  My character is a two dimensional one, drawn mainly to elicit your sympathy.  My cartoonish cuckolding and hotter new girlfriend (the one with red heels made of patent leather and sex) is really nothing more than a plot device created by a lazy writer.  But you want to know more, don’t you?  Ma nouvelle amie et belle. And her…well for that, you will have to wait for her next vacuous reflection, couched as another self-loathing screed that paints me in ever darkening shades of black and blood red.

And next time, as you feel a little eruption of sympathy and misdirected hate, ask her why she is so beset by dreams of rubans et les cicatrices

You may not like the answer. 

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