Toujours je fais le giparon.

As Rimbaud said. Or was it Baudelaire?

Every party, we all know, slides into the kitchen eventually. The dull polite people may stay in the living room; the hungry ones looking for crispier conversation find themselves leaning against the kitchen counters, opening the refrigerators of their personal discontents and desires and serving them like raided snack food to the surprisingly kindred spirits sharing the formica.

But every party also has its satellites. Give a balcony or a darker corner of the gardens or even an open window with a view and there will be one, then two or three, stepping away from the noise to watch it at a distance and reflect its light dimly, coolly, in the damp and petrichorean air seasoned with their night-blossoming thoughts. Those are the moments when you find yourself facing another and knowing you will kiss them or knowing you will never kiss them, retasting the cold leftovers of your shared histories or quickly flicking new ones on the flame.

And, always, there is a person or maybe two wandering ghost-like from room to room, sitting and facing, glimpsing sidelong and listening to three conversations at once. Perhaps they will end up in the kitchen, perhaps they will orbit on the balcony, or perhaps they will sit on a settee and soak in the local emotions, the music of voices. You may see them staring at the bookshelves, assessing the reading habits of the hosts. And at the end of the party, look for them to be there like starfish at low tide, but ready now to talk and to tie the knot and bow on the evening.

Some are satellites in space and some in time, but always there will be those who cannot blend in the thick heat of the social moment but have active valence in the more rarefied spaces. The giparons.

This word giparon has nothing to do with gipsy, be assured of that; nor are its designates peregrines per se, though they may wander as planets do. No, it is their spectatorial nature that seems to have given them the name. The word is a little peculiar; it fits the French form with the –on as in fanfaron, but it matches a Spanish conjugated verb, giparon, ‘they glimpse, they glance, they look at’. These are those who behold, those who like to watch, those whose eyes move in their orbits. But if at last they touch earth, they have had a view as from the moon.

And I, I am always a giparon. In fact, I am the first – the first to be called such. You see, this is a new old word. It came into being by random letter drawing just this evening. Please keep it.

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