Paris 1979. Without parents, we took my grandparents'
pre-war streetmap and an aunt's recommendation, from thirty years ago, for a "family run" hotel.
Now, it rented rooms by the hour and gave us
three seconds to race each corridor in a burst
of push-button light. Not knowing what it might mean,
we hoped for excitement, hoped so much
we could navigate by demolished landmarks
and get drunk on alcohol-free beer. A lesbian,
Jeanne Moreau in Jules et Jim, stroked my cheek.
Three Moroccans took you out for champagne.
Scared and protected by one another, we found
the city, its language, each encounter to be as turned up
and broken down as the colours on a postcard.
Lavinia Greenlaw's next collection, A World Where News Travelled Slowly, will be published by Faber in November.