Frequency: By (latin)

BY (latin)

by and large it was a good day

Charlie and Anna attend a Latin mass at Notre Dame. They both light candles and hold hands in front of the votive offering. It’s a kind of depressing thing to do, but something about the mysticism of the old ceremony in the old place provides them with a momentary sense of relief.

by the way I need you

Charlie is torn, deeply conflicted. He had half-planned to send a ticket to Helen and bring her to Paris instead of Anna. But he recognized his own frailty and did the right thing instead. Still he finds himself sneaking off to for a few moments to scribble a postcard to her, just to let her know he’s still thinking of her. A phrase for her in Latin: Amor caecus est.

by the sound of it you need help

Maggie never liked doctors much and hers is of the type who would prefer to spout terminology in Latin to telling her how long she actually has left to live.

by the people

Of course they keep an eye on Paris. A lot of angry young Muslims, a lot of American targets, though generally those youth were more contra mundum, as they say in Latin. More against the world in general, or against the French state, than they were against the American embassy in particular. Still, the threats gave Howard a chance to eat some great food, and a fluent staffer at the embassy did all the ordering for him in restaurants.

by his hand it came to an end

Howard happened to be in Paris during one of the riots, though the turmoil in the banlieues was invisible to him from the Latin Quarter. In a way, the Gallic mode of street protest, burning cars and tear gas and so on, seemed somehow anachronistically charming to Howard. He appreciated the fact that the unrest was visible on the streets, nothing opaque or sleeper cell about it.

by and by

Howard lives a life more spartan than Latin. He isn’t one for nightclubs or even online dating. It isn’t that he’s lacking in desire to get in a serious relationship, or even to have a good time, it’s just that he’s never managed to feel deeply connected, to anyone, really. That kind of exposure seems somehow unsafe.

by the time we found him it was over

A visit to Père-Lachaise was a really bad idea for an overcast afternoon in Paris, but Anna insisted. They wandered the city of the dead, among the elaborate monuments, mausoleums, and headstones. It was as if she had to visit him even she was away. She wept for a few minutes, and when Charlie asked her why, she said it was because they hadn’t written anything in Latin on the headstone. Charlie didn’t weep, though his sadness was equally deep. The boy had never even learned to read English, much less Latin.

by the end we would learn the answer

He speaks Latin and it’s all Greek to her. Does the concept of ending make sense at all anymore when such an ending has already come too soon? It is even possible to use the term vacation when it is fundamentally impossible to vacate the world they have made?

by name they could tell us one from another

He could pick Helen out of a crowd from a photograph shot by a satellite five miles overhead. Her eyes are striking. Her beauty could turn your head, knock you down. Her eyes move you. You could be a Latin lover or an adolescent dreamer, a billionaire or a chauffeur, a masseur or a homeless man. To look into her eyes is to know yourself as you imagine yourself to be, or so Charlie rhapsodized when he had a bit too much to drink.

by the water we set him down

He speaks a phrase or two in Pig Latin to try and make her feel better. It is not right, and they both feel it, that water makes them both want to cry. It is not right, in any circumstances, to feel that wet is wrong. They both try to face up to their fears, to face what is wrong with them, what has effaced them, face front. They both try to breath, to live with what has cheated them.

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *