Ms. Bullitt, (Mrs. Schwartzman when married), moved to one of the suites in Harlitz Hotel in Soho, central London, three weeks ago. Ms. Bullitt usually lives in Seattle, on the West Coast, but decided to move city for a few months as her two sons and nephew live in London. The Schwartzmans share a loft in the East of the city. It is around a ten minute walk from my house. We often find each other in the borough, casually in college (they also attend the same university as me), or when we dine together on special occasions. They are, in fact, some of my best friends.
The Schwartzman boys, however, have not always lived together. Two years ago, I lived with one of them: Stefan Schwartzman. We shared an apartment with other friends near Old Street. On one side of the wall was my room, on the other, his.
So, Ms. Bullitt, has been Mrs. Bullitt to me for just one week, before, she was just Stefan's mother. The lady who Stefan referred to as mother or mum.
Stefan and I have been spending the last few afternoons accompanying Ashley Bullitt. We've spent many hours in her room. Sometimes we would go to the movies, or to dinner, or walk around the block and back to the hotel. In the hotel we would do little or nothing. All the time on the bed. Just talking, or in my case, listening to Mrs. Bullitt. She is wise and likes to talk, and I suppose she appreciates my attentive audience. I ask questions, or rather expose conversational topics and study how Stefan and she develops them. It is interesting to know the difference between a mother as an independent person to the idea of a mother you made up in your mind from what her child said about her. I guess there is also that space between my mother as an independent individual, and my mother as I see her. The two versions are the same objectively and subjectively at the same time.
Sometimes I think youth is overrated, maybe because I'm young, I'm not sure. It is delightful to listen to people who are older than me. Not older in a strictly quantitative sense, but in the maturity that well spent years give you. The experience of the lived life. Listening to Mrs. Bullitt, makes me think of that. In three days I'm going to Beijing, Mrs. Bullitt told me about when her grandparents lived in China. Her grandmother was peeling an orange and a piece of shell fell on the ground. Chinese children fought over the orange peel on the floor. We ended up, as usual, talking about Communism, which one can never avoid talking about if talking of China.
Back home, I found a picture in my email of Ms. Bullitt's grandparents in China. I printed it.
In addition to lost palaces, Victorian paintings, Sofia Coppola's new film and the Hindu food restaurants, I had time to take some pictures.
Ms. Bullitt, is particularly proud of her feet, almost as proud as she is of her son and my good friend Stefan.
Son, mother and feet.
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