:: Article

Thank You for Paris

By Emily McPhillips

He has all these ideas. “We’ll go to Paris” he says. He’s picturing us walking along the Seine. His arm extends across my back and I feel his fingers run across the bumps of my spine. He is documenting each step we take. He is thinking about a photo album he saw in M&S, tan suede; its touch made his fingers feel delicate. We are in this album now. He has drawn hearts around our faces.

I have known him for about half an hour. We met in the queue at the cinema. I felt his breath on my neck, and it hung there like a tie. We have just shared our first kiss.

He is still romancing me in Paris. He is thinking about getting down on one knee when we reach the Eiffel Tower. There is a bulge in the top pocket of his jacket. I am trying to get as far away from him as possible, but he is designing my future and he has no plans for me to leave.

I am thinking about my ex-boyfriend. I am thinking about our first kiss. I am thinking about how in love we were. I am thinking about the last time we made love. I want to call him.

I am at the cinema. I go here to forget about my ex. I go here to be like someone else for a while. I sit in the dark on the back row. I’m on the seat farthest away from the aisle. I want to be alone.

He sits next to me. He jangles as he tries to get comfortable. He sounds like a charity tin as he does this. I want to shake him. I am looking at all the empty seats in the cinema. I am looking at him next to me.

I am not forgetting about my ex. I am resting my head against his chest and listening to him breathe. I feel alive when I am doing this; I feel like I belong to the real world.

The film is about to begin. He races through his popcorn as though there is some treasure at the bottom of the carton. There is nothing at the bottom of the carton. He pushes the arm rest back, the arm rest that is keeping me from him, the arm rest that is defining us as two separate people. I am feeling like that empty carton of popcorn. I am pinching myself. I am still in the cinema.

Thoughts of my ex fill my head. There is a couple sat in the same seats we once had. I imagine their names, I imagine how they met, I imagine it’s me and you.

I am screaming. His hand mutes any sound I make. He is happy. He loves the movies. He loves Dolby Surround Sound. He loves his dick in my mouth.

He talks to me about Paris. We are walking along the Seine. I am throwing myself in that cold, hospitable blue. We are at the Eiffel tower. He is down on one knee. He makes me watch him as he comes. His proposal fills my mouth. I accept it and fall back into my chair.

He bends over and kisses me. He takes out a bundle of notes from his top jacket pocket. “Thank you for Paris” he says. And he makes his way towards the fluorescent Exit sign.

I watch the couple sat in front. They are watching the film. They are happy. They are in love.

Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She is studying Journalism and Broadcasting at Salford University.


First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, June 21st, 2007.