He took me hand even more excited than he had been and I followed him down the small street passed a tiny library claiming to be the smallest library in Paris; a place that looked like a café, kissing the water front called Enfin à la Maison; many small studio flats and a corner building which I could only assume was a brothel. The street was dark and I could only imagine what it would look like under cover of night. We wandered up the narrow street until we came to a steep slope in the ground. His – our – flat was here. He removed the key from his pocket and slipped it into the lock, turned it, and it made a satisfying clicking sound. The hinges had rusted to such an extent that he had to press his entire body weight against it for the door to open and allow us passage into the building.
We walked inside, traipsing rain and mud from the Paris alleys into the thread bare charcoal carpet. The hallway itself was almost empty; a small coat stand, a cabinet where I could only assume the spare keys lived and above the door, a strange ornament of an intertwined golden sun and moon looking down on the hallway with closed eyes that could not see. Would never see. We pulled my ase up the narrow steep wooden steps past several doors unil we reached a door with the same interwined sun and moon emblazed upon it as had been above the door. He pushed the door ajar and too my hand and led me inside.
I stared up as I walked over the threshold to my new home. A lattice of brown: umber; burnt sienna; hickory. All looped and woven between each other until they became a celling; a way to keep the rain out. Not that he saw it that way. The points created by the rendezvous of the wooden planks formed a hexagon with a crest that reached high into the Parisian skyline. Suspended from the beams, a collection of dream catchers in illuminating shades of yellow, envious tones of green and honouring mixtures of blues and violets. They swayed slightly from an unknown breeze - created by Sylvester perhaps?
Beneath, a small square wooden table. Worn and used and marked in places. Eroded by over use. A little leather bound book slept closed near the corner with a black feather quilt. Not a diary - he wouldn't approve of documenting one's time on this earth in mundane written word; that much I could be sure of. Also a top the table, a blooming deep ruby rose; petals all gently unfurled; a stem without any thorns, to its side, a bright white waxy candle. Alight, with a soft glow and a shade encasing it, with many delicate patterns and rotations the glow of the candle shone despite the shade creating a pattern upon the wooden wall. Adjacent to the book, an old wooden chair with lightly scuffed scarlet padding. It had no arms. It was certainly not a throne - Sylvester wouldn't approve of placing oneself above one's fellows, few and far between though they may be.
Below my feet, the floor was scuffed and marked. Tracks were visible where the old furniture had been dragged and switched around the attic room. Towards one side of the room, the floor was splashed and splattered in acrylic paints. The epicentre of the colour appeared to form around a chair, similar to the one at the table, the chair itself too was dotted with shades of paint. Whether or not this was deliberate remains unclear, he wouldn't want to inhabit a place devoid of colour after all. In the centre of the room, a small woven woollen carpet in pastel tones of English pink and periwinkle blue. Soft and young in this old room.
In the opposite direction, a double bed with a thick magnolia duvet scrunched up a top it. Two feather pillows sat on top of the duvet. A crimson bedspread slept forgotten on the floor. The soft sheets as buttercream were spread tight across the mattress. Clean and neat. The headboard was a rosewood crown to the bed, symmetrical and sweeping toward the heavens. Embossed into the wood, a circle with six waves pointed out away from the centre, they themselves were slightly asymmetric, the subtle imperfection would please him. At the foot of the bed, an old chest; beaten and battered with a padlock undone and hanging useless - yet nothing is useless to him. It was clear the chest had been regularly opened and allowed to fall shut with a potentially loud bang. Atop of the chest, I folded and placed my white night dress with a lace floral pattern at the collar and hem and just over the short sleeves and a little white bow tied neatly rests at the heart.
Against a corner, a large chaise lounge was shrouded in a paint splattered white sheet. Strangely, all the acrylic splashes seemed evenly distributed like rain upon an uninhabited plain. The exception to this was around the centre of the sheet where no paint could be found at all. To the touch, the sheet was slightly warm as if an occupant had just left. It's shape swept in smooth clear curves indicating a small window in the wall. Open. The curtains left undrawn in the morning light. Through the lattice, an old winding street with a few small shops selling books and the like could be seen. He preferred to read than to write. A cafe. A little inn; Enfin à la Maison. A soft music could be heard from its large doors.
The subtle light of the moon that lingers over Rue de la Liberté outside cast a golden light upon the geometric thin beams of pale wood erect or slanted, creating a stand. An easel. Upon the easel, a small pallet, a thin paint brush and a milk white acrylic canvas. Blank.
After unpacking the possessions I had brought and placing them around the room. I found myself unsure of what to say to him. Was he happy? I wondered… that question alludes me to this day for throughout our lives I never asked. Luckily, he interrupted the silence; “Take off your clothes” he smiled “What?” I questioned rather surprised “Take them off and come over here” he waved his hand towards the chase lounge. Did he really want me just like that? Seeing my concern, he began to explain “I’ve started painting… to draw you naked.” He giggled “Oh” I smiled rather relieved. I quickly lifted my dress over my head and allowed it to flutter to the floor.
It was then that I heard an excited shout from the street outside. Sylvester stuck his head out of the open window and replied “Bonjoir Marius”. Could this be Marius Chevalier, his voice had been far deeper than I had imagined? “Oh yeah, put your clothes on…” a rather childish grin crept over Sylvester’s face like I had never seen from him previously.