Day 2: In the morning, the bright, rich light comes in, saturated with color and taste and fragrance like an old jazz tune sung by a beautiful, perfumed woman, along with the laughter and shouts of children at a nearby school.

Settling in, and already writing, after an escapade at the Monoprix and then a picnic lunch at my desk to research museums. I was just winding up, about to do an online yoga class, when a bustle arose in the hallway. I looked out my peephole; a man and woman argued with the neighbor. They handed her a brown-paper-wrapped package and left with an energy of, well, I can only call it grim determination.

The elderly lady lingered, staring down the hall after them, so I seized the opportunity to open my door. She gave me a cool glare and I murmured, “I thought I heard someone I knew…” I’m not sure she bought it because I was not-subtly focused on the still life painting on her foyer wall. I’m sure it’s a Cezanne, and not a reproduction. The solidity, the sense of order and structure; the colors of the apricots. I tried to memorize it so I could google it.

“You will come for tea tomorrow, Americaine,” she said. I was concentrating so fiercely that she had to repeat herself, then she slammed the door. What time does she want me to visit? Can I ask her about the painting? Inquiring minds want to know.

I didn’t find that particular work on-line, but there was a slew of similar paintings to be seen.

I trooped to the Louvre to see the Giotto exhibit–pure self-indulgence. Then one page at my computer. Alas, Jean-Sven stopped by with a bottle of wine, which he insisted was so delicious that I must sample it “tout de suite.” Turned out he has an excellent palate and then I had to offer him some cheese, peaches, and bread I bought at the market. We enjoyed the Chateau Neuf du Pape so much that he offered to bring down another bottle of something “tres belle” but I refused and then amiably but firmly saw him out to the hallway. I got that creepy feeling up and down my spine and I could have sworn the neighbor was watching us out her peephole! Well, you know how vivid my imagination is, having commented on it yourself, with that acerbic tone…

I remain, as ever, your devoted, and missing you quite fondly.

Til tomorrow….

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