23 Nov 2012

7 Shades of Paris

7th installment


I step quietly into the church, not wanting to disrupt the choir.  A gust of wind ventures to slam shut the heavy iron door but I catch it just in the nick of time.  A medley of pensive anthems are being performed and I stand at the back of the cathedral, overwhelmed by the rich sound which echoes through the pews.  Men and women young and old scatter themselves, some with their heads bent down in prayer and others kneeling on hand-stitched hassocks. 

I step over a grate in the icy building, being careful not to catch my heel.  I stare up at the imposing stained glass windows reflecting the Saints, the winter sunlight pouring through the glass to create a rainbow of colours.  My hair flickers gold.  I smile at the group of French babies in pushchairs who show their toothless gums as their Maman's wipe off the leftover yoghurt from their podgy faces.

He places his hand on the small of my back and I can feel my face glowing with a rush of heat.  The nerves on my cheeks start to prickle as I suddenly forget where I am, like an angel in the presence of God. 


He holds my hand and I take him vintage shopping in the Marais.  I hide behind clothes rails cluttered with fashion from the 50s; the clothes my Grandmother would have worn in young adulthood.  I try on over-sized knitted jumpers, ridiculous headpieces and unflattering dresses with bobbles and frills.  He takes photos of me with my Polaroid, telling me to pull funny faces.  We laugh and chatter until the film runs out.  He doesn't think I've noticed but I see him sneak one into his jacket pocket.  My knees turn to jelly and I sit down on the floor of the dressing room in my white bouffant skirt, my ragged red curls bouncing along my back and a tiny beaded corset clinching my waist.  "Is everything alright in there?" he asks.  I look at myself in the mirror, having fallen back into a different era.  He makes life more exciting.  I pull back the curtain and look up into his perfect face.  ''Gosh you're beautiful" he exclaims, before wrapping his finger sensually around one of my curls.

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