Jon studied acting with two Norwegians. A rudiments class aimed to get them in closer control of their physical forms. Jon and Tirragin – the rounder one, the extrovert extreme, a sixth Spice Girl that held up after the first few seconds – performed an exercise from that Physical Expression class; Physical Expression, that is, mime made sexy. Made sexy because Jon and Tirragin made things sexy. I know because I had vowed to buy Dickies that afternoon after watching Jon tuck his shirt in and I had watched everything Tirrigin did for the past 10 minutes. And now I considered leaving academia for the theater. For sure for fame and accolades, but more for the late night rehearsals, costume fittings, and shared backstage dressing rooms. An idea similar to ditching the football team to be a practice squad male cheerleader.
Hege, the lithe one, accomplished thrift store shopper, applauded. These actors supported each other! Hege, carved perhaps from young wood, walked a straight line, we four boys orbited her, but Tirrigin figure-eighted about. Three nested spheres, the outermost being the starry eyes of all of Paris, with Hege at the epicenter.
If I compare the Norwegians to heavenly bodies, a hah hah hah, how might I do the same for the bus load of Scots? A supernova? A black hole? What in space could be that fucking noisy? What more could you want on a bus ride? The noise, the traffic, and a broken toilet. “Driver! You’re going to need a screwdriver!” Time wasn’t measured by minutes or hours, but by rounds of Flower of Scotland, “That focht an dee’d for Yere wee bit Hill an Glen.” I don’t know how I could have slept, but I missed when they put on face paint. I forgave the driver lifetimes of Parisian rudeness. “Does anyone know French? Because I’m fucked!” My first flare up of World Cup fever was that the Scottish finished in the basement of Group A. (They did.)
That bus ride spent me, so much that I couldn’t bear bringing my bag with me. No bag, no camera. It was just a Samsung, point and shoot. It could’ve fit in my pocket. But no, no photos of Tirrigin and Hege. I remember Tirrigin in a black dress, dancing, elbows wrists at right angles, presenting the Hasta Mudras dancing along the Seine. I see Hege smoking cross-legged on a stone bench. I can’t at all be sure I actually witnessed these things. The girls’ faces are smeared in these impressions. I have no stillframe reminders of what they actually looked like, nor of what they no-this-is-a-bad-picture, didn’t-actually-look like, no, they were more stunning. And nothing to show the unworldly domestics, this is the otherworldly I once visited. The dopey visage of the Scottish boosters’ leader, face painted Saint Andrew’s Cross, is as clear as a cold day.
I have one tactile-induced memory from the night. We rode a ferris wheel. Tirrigin, Michael, and I dealt with it well; Hege and Tom did not. As Jon stood and made to jump from the cart, Tom pleaded, pinched the bridge of his nose, and shook his head. He looked more like he was riding in the backseat of a bus, next to the stopped-up toilet. Each time Jon unseated, the cart would swing all the moreso, and Hege would close her eyes and hold on tighter to my arm. As her protector, my blood later boiled, when Tom irreverently claimed that Hege was an awful name for such a beautiful girl.