Paris in the fall of 1999. Hotel Ritz. Two years b4 my brother Viktor died. Dad's on the sofa. Mouth open like a young Marlon Brando. Half dreaming, both hands clutching his first edition of à la recherche du temps perdu and mom is out there in the september dusk drinking poison. United in an subtle autumn sadness, me and Viktor make a leash out of moms new blue Hermès scarf and take Viktor's teddy Aloysius for a walk.
Under the Colonne @ Place Vendôme we lay down on the sidewalk and look @ the pigeons and expensive Tanino Crisci shoes that pass by. Then suddenly Viktor holds the teddy up, above my face.
"Promise to never leave me." He says with a theatrical voice pretending it's Aloysius speaking.
"I promise." I say.