Bear Bijou

The other day, I was feeling blue so I took a long walk along the Seine. I started on the left bank, near what I still call the new Francois Mitterand library, just next to what is now my new favorite area in Paris. The whole neighborhood has been recently constructed, hence it can give me what no other place in Paris can give me, the impression of a clean slate. Everywhere else, Paris is drowned under recollections of happy or painful moments, and I still have a hard time painting it anew with more recent memories.

A day earlier, I was demonstrating with 700.000 others Parisians at the annual Gay Pride, —la Marche des Fiertés—. The weather was beautiful, as it has been since I arrived, and my friend Alex looked at me funny when I suggested that it was may be a sign, a sign that Paris was wishing me well and that everything happened for a reason. It took me the better part of an hour to get ready for the Parade, before I finally left the apartment with a simple white shirt.

I couldn’t really not to be at my best because I knew I would see a lot of people I used to know, and most importantly, because I was going to see Nicolas. He was there, indeed, as beautiful and daring as he always is, so much actually I couldn’t stay. Also I couldn’t bear the thought of running into his new lover. I fled, but just before I disappeared in the crowd, Nicolas caught me by the arm and told me that today, I was very beautiful, really —vraiment très beau—. I smiled and said, you too, kissing him on the cheek and leaving him with all his beautiful bears friends. Alex nodded and pointed to the sky to cheer me up, the sun was breaking through the clouds.

A day after, walking, I remembered how much of an old city Paris really was. As I left the newly renovated part of the left bank to enter the old crappy one, I realized there was still place for small pockets of wild life, where some homeless people tried to live in cardboard houses and wildflowers tried to bloom. I spotted a big old barge who looked like a disused floating police station, squeaking, its windows broken. And then it was over again, I was back in a living part of the bank, where people were tango dancing in the middle of the day.

Arriving at the Louvre museum, passing under one last bridge, I smelled old urine and dog pooh once more and figured it was the way for the self-called capital of fashion to remember me that if living here was a luxury, we were all born between shit and piss t begin with. Ask your mum if you don’t believe me. This Pride made me feel insecure, I wish I could be as strong as a hairy bear. As I opened up to Alex about that, he said that my sideburns were helping. It makes you a Bear Bijou, I thought I heard. A jewel bear ? No, he answered, —un bear des joues—, a cheek bear. I know I misunderstood, but I liked my first idea better.