The only thing she kept during all these years. She says. Writing numbers on a tissue. In blue like her name sounds. They have lived there and there. And here. Not exactly here. But not too far. Over the bridge. For long. Forever? Don’t ask. Take the number.
You have put yours on the table. Written down quickly at the empty end of a shopping receipt. Hesitating a little while. Not too long. You’ve learned to give your details. It’s not for getting loved, desired. It’s only for surviving. And who would not do anything for surviving. You were smiling when putting your details on their table. That kind of detached smile you have learned. Without a hint of hope. Not even a hidden one.

It is still in your bag you had with you on this day. You’ve changed bags. It got too full. As all bags get too full and changed after a while. Emptied only when you go on a longer trip or when you move places. But you won’t go on a longer trip for a while and you have only just moved here. You better put the tissue in your wallet. Inside out. So that the blue is not disappearing. Like it does on days like these.

She changed her number a lot, the other woman whose name you will forget – only
remember the English version you will keep that did not suit her at all – she is laughing. But she could tell you all her postcodes ever. You might have even had a similar one she adds. As she knows where you come from. You said it with a proudness that surprised you. Not that you come from there. But you suddenly feel like coming from there. I have just lived there. You wanted to add. But everybody can hear that anyway. The two women on one table. And you on another.
You have got one number. And they have got one number. Isn’t that a fair deal.
You have even exchanged names. Isn’t that a start of a friendship.

You. Who is the first person. And why not be the third. The odd one. The one not looked at talking to herself. You! Name yourself as you wish. You have got an accent one might place right or wrong.

Write in your own language. You might loose it while living here for. No.
Never. Ever.

You keep saying. The only thing you keep. Keep saying. Not forever. Be careful to say it. It might not be easy to get numbers you can keep in your many bags.
To look at on numberless days that started passing too quickly. You keep coming to the place where you met. More for the place than for her. She might have gone on holiday. Where is she keeping your number? Has she still got it? Has she given it to the other woman who said she would only come back after the summer? Has she taken it with her on her holiday? She hasn’t probably gone to her country that sounds even wilder than her name. You will meet her and then you will have to decide whether to call her or not.

It got all about making them match. The children and their characters you somehow feel all so guilty about.

You have got time. She will keep her number. Remember. That’s what she said.

Elke Papp


About Genevieve Guetemme

art & research
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