Stalker

True confession: I was a stalker. Briefly. My target was Samuel Beckett. On my first visit to Paris, I wanted to see the great Irish writer in person. Not get his autograph or have my photo taken with him. I simply wanted to see a genius, a writer whom I revered, in the flesh.

I did some detective work. Of course, Beckett’s name was not in the telephone directory. The casino he was said to favor had a membership fee far out of my budget.

But I reasoned that he’d visit his publisher, Éditions de Minuit. So I staked it out. The office is on quiet street. From the outside, it seems appropriately austere. I smoked cigarettes, prowling back and forth, feeling as if I were playing some role.

Over the next few days, I haunted the street (my fleabag hotel was close, and it did boast actual fleas as part of its charms). I didn’t see him, or Marguerite Duras, just a harassed-looking man in his thirties smoking a Gauloise.

I waited and waited.

It took a long time, and yet, I finally to a realization.

I had turned into a Beckett character.

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