To my charming Andrée

My old lady lives by Garden Luxemburg,
Just to the foot of the Senate,
Goes to church once by week. At noon Sundays,
When the bells call …. Prizyvno…..
At Saint-Sulpice. She is not much religious,
But says “we should not forget the church”.
Once a week, again at Sundays come her son. For a lunch.
This is a habit, so called the family ritual.
So poor family ritual…
My old lady every day goes to the market.
On the other side of the boulevard Saint–Germain–des-Pres,
along the streets ‘rue de Seine’ and ‘rue de Buci’
(it is the famous rue de Buci, with a bookshop
of Russian literature “Le Globe”).
“Ah, that market has a remarkable selection
and people are kind with me,” says my old lady.
And she adds: I noticed in general, people are kind with elderly people”.
“Thanks God, then, if it is so,” – I think afterwards…
So, there is a wonderful abundance of food on the Rue de Seine.
But my old lady takes two slices of bacon, a half-baguette,
and three potatoes and comes back to the foot of Senate.
My old lady is a true Parisienne.
When rains, she put on her waterproof hat;
and at sunny days she always puts
her irreplaceable cream from “Elisabeth Arden”,
probably released fifty years ago.
My old lady is my good friend.
She watches her TV every day, afternoons and evenings.
She has a super TV, either “Grundig” or “Phillips”, don’t remember…
She wraps the feet, put on the glasses,
takes a TV-program and attentively studied it.
Afterwards, bravo manipulating on the distance by her ‘Grundig’,
she watches the whole thing and quietly falls asleep.
Often she invites me to watch TV with her:
the news and the thrillers.
But I hardly find time. Only sometimes…
And for her it is the main pastime.
But by all means, exactly at noon and at four p.m.
she gets up from her centenary armchair,
takes the direction of her orange kitchen
and prepares her lunch or afternoon tea.
She drinks a full bowl of Chinese smoked tea.
I know she doesn’t like it, but someone told her a years ago,
that we should have at least one and a half litre
of liquid every day; so she obeys.
“My God, I really don’t want it, but I have to...”
And she drinks, shaking her had unhappily.
And come back to her place of duty. By TV- post.
My girlfriend prefers police movies.
But it happens often to her to fall asleep amidst the film.
“So, - sighs my friend, - I am going to my TV; I am obliged to.
Otherwise I don’t know how to spend my day,
what to do, really don’t know”.
So she looks at “crosswords”, thrillers or news.
That’s why she knows all events.
And she keeps me updated.
She announced me about “coming death” of Jackie Kennedy-Onassis,
and about crazy ‘Formula One’ races in Italy, - catastrophe of a famous racer
that put Brazil and all the world into deep sadness, -
Ayrton Senna. These are her news.
Sometimes I keep her updated when she asks me
whether modern youth goes to the dancing clubs;
or how Hitler been dead;
or whether there are still plenty bakeries in other parts of Paris…

My old lady remembers very well,
what happens to her in childhood.
When in 1914 she went to the German family to study German,
then war broke up and that German family (‘how kind they were!’)
put her the same day to the train, to avoid her imprisonment…
“Today you have a chance – airplanes!
The same day – three thousand km away.
At my time nothing like this…” she says.
Once or twice a day she gets a telephone call.
From the post-office, or a bank, or sometimes – her children.
Everyday postman brings letters.
But it is a bureaucratic anonymous exchange.
They are formal letters from the bank,
post-office, EDF(electricity), or GDF(gas) or a Cable TV,
and once she has got a postcard from Greece from her daughter.

I look out from window to the inner yard.
Shutters, flower pots, laced lattices.
Everything reminds on passed glory and stability.
It is an ancient yard. Patio. An ancient building.
From the epoch of last Ludovics.
Someone’s neat hand throws away from
window the tablecloth with numerous crumbs.
It reminds me deception words
of my old friend that she often repeats.
“At least I have a window that looks to the yard,
where I can throw away the crumbs.
I cannot believe they forbid to throw to the street side!
It’s forbidden now! What can I do?”
Ah, crumbs-crumbs and the old bread,
dry bread, what to do with you?
It is forbidden even feed the pigeons on the street.
One can do it in the Park, not on the street!
But my old lady does it anyway, hiding herself…
Ah, my forgotten charming lady - my old charming friend,
her name is Andrée Pinsolle.
My friend is ninety years old.
And she has always her glasses at right place
and she is a real Parisienne.

…I walk up by our street towards a Senate,
towards a Luxemburg garden.
The morning sun strikes roofs,
the kiosker puts out the fresh newspapers;
the tenant of the glamorous boutique “Jean-Luis Scherrer”,
which is just on the corner,
diligently washes the pavement
by the thoroughly soaped water.
Water is foaming, spreading all over pavement.
Paris has awakened. But it is a different theme…