Last Train to Montpellier


Robert Gibbons

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 105 in 2002.

In the middle of the night the diesel-fuel-blue sound of the train collided with the brilliance of the moon. She knelt up on the bed to close the storm window. Then the dream, The Private Viewing Parlor of Kazakstan, could begin in peace. She told me that some of the participants in the room merely embraced. Others, she revealed shyly turning in underpants & pantyhose as she dressed for work, did more. We figured most of it was triggered by the Paris sex shop scenes Kieslowski used for backdrop in the first of his tri-color films, Blue, which we saw earlier that night.

Since the self-titled dream called itself "Private," I didn't hound her for details. The young woman who performed on stage in the film, wasn't she afraid her father was in the audience? Didn't she tell Juliette Binoche he glanced at his watch in order to catch the last train to Montpellier? Wouldn't my wife, whose own father died when she was three, want him to join her anywhere, even in the viewing parlor? (In French, so to speak?) She steps bravely into the blue Monday of work, her unresolved longing, naked, played out on the big, blue screen of grief.