Saturday, April 2, 2011


4. I’m pressing my nose against the windowpane, looking at the wide canvas of Brussels that my fourth-floor apartment affords me everyday. Usually, sitting at my desk, I can only see out to the left: the assorted arrangement of red, ceramic roofs at different heights, spreading out to the horizon; the gigantic, glass-walled European Parliament that for the initial many months I have embarrassingly mistaken for the Schuman Building; the lone modern building in the far left standing out not only because of its shape and size, but also because of its bright neon lights that used to read, “The Hilton”, but have recently been mysteriously changed to, “The Hotel”; the dome of Palais de Justice, possibly the only part currently not obscured by the building’s seemingly continual renovation; and, a necessary component to any picturesque landscape, a crane. When I stand next to my bookcase, I can only see out to the right: the treetops of Parc Félix Hap; more ceramic roofs; a partial snapshot of, I believe, the Schuman Building; and, to compete with the left, three cranes.

This morning, Brussels is uncharacteristically blue. Delaying my breakfast ritual, I stand directly in front of the bedroom window, taking in the complete view. What I haven’t - and couldn’t have from the desk or the bookcase - seen before is an explosion of pink. In the backyard of a nearby house, a little girl in a pink sweatshirt is immersed in her little pink world: a scooter with pink handles and pink wheels, a tricycle with pink pedals and a pink front basket, a mini pink stroller, and various other pink objects that I can’t quite make out from my window. She is busy arranging little items into a pink briefcase, when that’s done, she authoritatively put on her pink-rimmed sunglasses. One hand carrying the briefcase and the other clutching the protective fingers of her father, who has just come out to collect her, off she went, leaving the explosion of pink behind, and watching her go, suddenly I wish I were four again.

5. The weather broadcaster is sweeping her arm across the map of Belgium, explaining something in French. Her audio commentary seems unnecessary, as there is already a little caption, "Nuit", and white raindrops populate indiscriminately all over the map. This seems to distress Waldo. 
"No. No. Nooo. Noooooo!"
"She can't hear you." 
"NOOOOOOOO!" *pauses, then grabs the BlackBerry* "I'VE GOT TO CALL HER."

6. Doing the swan dance to Seven Nation Army. Laughing uncontrollably at the sight of Zoe and Pierre jumping up and down, yelling in unison, "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.Doing the swan dance to pretty much any song we don't know. Singing at the top of my lung with Zoe, "Breaking my back just to know your name. But heaven ain't close in a place like this." Have I mentioned doing the swan dance?

The night had started out with a vague sense of déjà vu: two girls and a guy getting lost on the way to Windows, a small bar near Gare du Midi with a dance floor separated by three adjacent windows, which explain the name; keeping up the annual tradition, I came in my trench coat. Nevertheless, losing myself on the dance floor next to Zoe, me in a pink floral dress and her in a red spaghetti, I glanced through one of the windows, picturing us last year standing near the corner where the Tartes de Francoise were, and thinking to myself, what a difference a year has made. 

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