I needed to take a special train to Versailles, so I headed off early and purchased a ticket.
The train stopped where the tracks ended. We all flooded out into the street as a man in uniform said, “Versailles is two blocks to the right and straight ahead.”
Crossing the street, I grabbed a quick Americano at Starbuck’s before heading over to the Palace.
Walking up, I wanted to charge the palace like the peasants of the Revolution. So I jogged up the cobblestone hill, just beyond the first statue. I put down my Americano and tied my shoe lace. That was exhausting. How the hell did they walk all the way from Paris and then run up this hill on cobblestone? They must have been pissed . . . and had great shoes with a lot of ankle support.
Got my ticket.
I stopped where I wanted to along the way, staring at the art, mimicking the substandard British actors on the audio guide, picking up my pace because the level of opulence was growingly uncomfortable.
. . . and, finally, a handsome sculpture.
The intense eyes, the high cheek bones, I gazed and thought about his love letters to Josephine.
“I awake all filled with you. Your image and the intoxicating pleasures of last night, allow my senses no rest.”
“Farewell, my wife: the torment, joy, hope and moving which draw me close to Nature, and with violent impulses as tumultuous as thunder. I ask of you neither eternal love, nor fidelity, but simply…truth, unlimited honesty.”
“A kiss on the heart, and one lower down, much lower!”
He is the only historical figure I masturbate to.
I broke out of the palace to wander the gardens and got an ice cream cone.
Strolled through Marie Antionette’s private gardens, I ate one of the protein bars Jeph sent with me (which kept me alive during my final days in France), feet dipped into her pond, a swan glided along the water looking for food. It was the perfect place for a woman; safe, charming and blossoming in fantasy.
Sunbathing along the main canal, I listened to the Beatles and Bob Marley, and thought about all the wars and blood spilled to keep this land in the hands of rich men. Now it belonged to all of us.
That night, Aldrich and I had our nightly phone call:
He said, “I like Napoleon, too.”
We spoke about America, and how he believed we waited too long before intervening in World War II, then stole all the glory of its win. The bickering was delicious: “I think you aren’t properly informed . . .” “I think you Americans don’t learn truth!”
It was beginning to rain. I refused to think about leaving. I still had two days left.
George: 500 Word Count