Day 7: Letter to a friend
Some days stand out as highlights. Today was one such, thanks to a lovely dinner with M. Alain Le French Editor and his wife la belle dame Isabelle. Alain and Isabelle most graciously spoiled me with dinner at one of the famed Montparnasse eateries, with art on the walls (some of it rather nice), succulent lamb, and red wine full of sun. I would note that the baked chevre with tomate exceeded my expectations most delectably.
Even more delicious was the conversation. Cher M. Alain is a thoughtful, highly literate one, and his English is excellent. He had a lot of theories about the various social problems we chewed over, which included: the shifting generational financial profile; the next generation’s lack of understanding regarding sacrifice; racial and socioeconomic problems and the assimilation of immigrant cultures; the weight gain in the US and France (I blame high fructose corn syrup and the government spraying the civilian population with population control chemicals, he holds the disintegrating family unit responsible); and the waning of the American empire. There were, bien sûr, other topics as well.
Needless to say, it is a rich treat indeed to gorge on such intelligent discourse! And Alain and Isabelle shared some of their personal story, how they met and gently wound their way together. Of this, I shall only say: Alain is fortunate to have been given a second chance. But Isabelle didn’t fare too badly, either. Lovely men are special creatures, don’t you think? Wasn’t it you who said that men were a pitiful lot?
The rest of the day was quiet. A trip to the marché for cerise and apricots. Some reading, a load of laundry, yoga, note-taking. General holing-up and stewing-over-a-story stuff. I was not available for a trip to Notre Dame and decided to respect myself with greater truculence immediately–if not sooner. So I left a note outside on the floor, where anyone who wanted to slide paper into my apartment would have to look. The note inquired: “Why should I go to Notre Dame?”
While I was preparing a cheese plate for the arrival of my guests–Isabelle and Alain were coming by for an aperitif–Jean-Sven knocked on the front door. I kept silent. He would go away if he thought I wasn’t home.
“Traci, I know you’re in there,” Jean-Sven sang. “Traci, vite, maintenant!” He pounded.
I refused to answer.
“D’accord, be that way. But tomorrow is Angelique’s concert and we are all going, my friends and me. We will pick you up in the afternoon.”
I maintained radio silence.
“Why should you go to Notre Dame? Je pas, it’s a beautiful cathedral and that’s what all the tourists do!” he called. He waited. “You can’t hide forever. Tomorrow, then.”
I heard him tromp off, so I went to the door and peeked out the peephole. Mme Durand stood there, staring at my door as if mesmerized. Her door was open, her white hair fell out of its bun and draped down around her shoulders, and the beautiful Cezanne hung on the wall behind her, bathed in the aura of its beauty. I ran to get my cell phone to snap a pix but by the time I returned, her door was closed.
Perhaps you will see from today’s missive that your theories of thoughtful and considerate behavior apply not only to others, but to the self as well.