Love Letters from the Gutter

The Pink Collection #4 - Rue de L'espoir

Dear Button,

I think I am depressed. France in the summer seems duller than London in the winter and time has began to pass by at reduced speeds making me suffer every torturous second of it. My hotel room, a traditional piece, is almost bare but for a bed, a side table, a somewhat battered telephone, and a slow useless fan that turns on the ceiling. For my part of the emptiness there is one brown suitcase and the bits and pieces I make use of each day: a toothbrush, a pen, a notebook and a glass that perfumes the room with whiskey but never has a drop in it. I call it pain wash. Sometimes I'll turn a good measure into my mouth, hold it until the fumes curl up and vaporize my sinuses, and then swallow. It kinda acts like smelling salts and I stand looking out over the city through a watery haze. Maybe after six glasses like that I can lose most the pain and pass the evening in a stupor of misery. But at least misery doesn't hurt... it just makes the world look shit.

I spoke to Scott again yesterday and he offered to come and collect me but I told him there was nothing to collect. I tried to explain that the Enola he knew (everyone knew) had slipped into a reality void, was lost somewhere in the very recent past, and all that was left of me now was the hurt and it isn't a pretty sight. I told him that just the fibres from the seat on the plane would make me scream; I'm that raw. I don't think he understood. It still surprises him to hear me talking like that. I think it even embarrasses him to see it... to watch a man he thought was an emotional rock crumble to dust in front of him. I don't think I'll ever recover myself fully in his eyes. He'll always remember the me of today, the Enola who smashed an ashtray into his head because his lover left him... the Enola whose pillow muffled sobs depressed the dark... the Enola who cried the night to sleep. He's now even treating me like a baby: coming to collect me!

I'm not going to go on forever Button - I've not got much left in me. A sober reality has descended upon my hope and now when I throw one of these letters down it's changing into something else, like: “fucking take it then!” as if the streets are pulling something from me which I begrudgingly give so as not to be completely without hope. And so, as this french evening falls and shadows stretch so far they consume everything, I let this letter fall and land where it may. It will not get very far, so it's you who will have to come to it. The city smells of musk and dusk and dead flowers. From the south blows a light breeze and far over in the west is the faintest trace of bubblegum pink in the sky. As long as it's gone by morning that's supposed to be a good sign: “shepherds delight” as they say...

My Darling, the Hospital of God ('L'hôtel Dieu') is where I'm headed next...

Find me well or find me dead...

Yours regardless,

       Enola Gray. X


  1. This is beautiful..I adore the descriptive text of the first paragraph and love this line in the last
    " I am not going to go on forever Button- I have not got much left in me"...
    I so know that feeling xx

  2. I misread that last bit as 'L'hôtel Adieu' and thought:

    'No! Once you’ve done the suicide threat you have no more cards to play!' As ABBA put it.

    Isn’t it strange how everything in French sounds more interesting/romantic/authentic than pedestrian old English? Like Rue de L'espoir in English is plain old Hope Street. We have a Hope Street not far from me, which is basically just one big bus lane.

    Rue De L’espoir sounds like a place where Existentialists smoke gold-tipped cigarettes and philosophise while having their portraits painted by abstract impressionists.

    Having said that, there’s still an element of New York Noir:

    'the slow useless fan that turns on the ceiling', the lone man swigging Whisky, tracking down The Dame That Got Away.

    Or La Dame qui s'est enfui


  3. Hey Ruth and thank you... the letters start to come a little more natural now. Thta one I wrote straight off with only the very end being changed. X

  4. Hiya Joe,

    There probably is a hotel adieu somewhere. Two interesting things in that post -

    1) The hospital Hotel Dieu was the first ever place I visited in Lyon. I had transfered my script from London to there and first morning had an appointment to begin my substitution program. It is also one of the oldest hospitals in france and its literary claim to fame is that Rabelais worked there and was sacked for bad timekeeping!

    2) Rue de L'espoir doesn't exist and is the only place that will appear in LoveLetters that is not on the map. It's not significant... I had in fact lost my little A-Z in which I had marked down all the interesting place names I would use and so after thinking for ten minutes decided it'd be a lot quicker just to invent one! So it will be the only mythical place in the entire book and hopefully, in a hundred years or so (when these comments are long gone) confuse the hell out of the historians. Just for that it will all have been worth it!

    Yeah, emotional suicide threats are ridiculous... and I'm talking from experience. The young adult Shane shouted a few of them out to get his way... feeling instantly idiotic when he got back in return: "Go on then!"
    "Nah, I've changed my mind... you're not that fucking special!!!"

    How stupid youth is. Love by knifepoint... all you gain is hate. X

  5. This letter was "la poop".

    It amazes me how you pull up the emotion. What a life you've led. (I hope this makes sense)

    My favorite line is the last in your comment to Joe.

  6. Oooohhh, a switch towards anger and resentment (at least, I think I see these things creeping in, slowly but steadily)...

    When mixed with self-pity and loss, and a character than is a little unstable, it makes for a heady cocktail.

    Things could get interesting from here; I have a feeling that Enola may not be as passive as our old friend Tristy...

  7. Hiya Jim,

    Poop's feminine... I always knew it!

    I think it was more life led me. I just followed behind gobsmacked. Of course many things were real miserable at the time, but in retrospect, after discovering what I did enjoy, I realized that all these things were an invaluable education and far from being stunting or messing you up they could be the sum total of something unique and positive. And so as each event passed I began to look back and smile about it (no matter what) and finally they became things I could use to give me hope in the future. I think I am lucky that I've an interest in arts and writing, as in that way the not so good can be used to build something better. So if I pull up the emotion it's because I have lived them and somehow managed to capture them in such a way so as they're now on instant recall.

    My own personal favourite line from that letter is: misery doesn't hurt... it just makes the world look shit


  8. Hiya John... hopefully it'll get interesting but maybe in a very different way to what you imagine.

    I've half a mail in my drafts for you. I'll finish it later and send it over. X

  9. I've got absolutely no idea where this is going - I've speculated (of course), but am at a loss; it's too early to tell. I don't know whether or not the letters are what they seem, or something entirely different; are they really love letters, or are they coded, with a different meaning? Is this guy writing to a man, a woman, or to himself? Is the recipient alive, dead or imaginary?

    I've no idea, and it's that lack of knowledge, along with the expectation of being blindsided, that keep me reading...


  10. Wow, what a place. You'd half expect it not to be really real.

    L'hôtel Dieu

    The Kingdom Comes,
    Dusty Rose.


If you're here to write something malicious I thank you in advance for wasting your precious time on me. X