Paris & a Goldfish

March 28, 2008

“This is an apartment for an affair,” he said, taking me slightly aback.  “It reminds me of a Parisian nook, tucked away in some corner of the city.”  It surprises me, his choice of words, as I think back to the exterior of the house, light gray, and unmistakably Americana, certainly not traits I would connect with Paris. 

There was a sturdy, white, wooden staircase leading upstairs, nearly a century old, protesting after all the years of footsteps falling there.  We ascend and I notice that all the walls are painted a muted, warm shade of brown, like coffee when they’ve already added cream.  A small, upholstered chair sits in the far corner of the room, covered by a knitted, red throw.  Unglamorous, but inviting, beneath a too-modern light that stretches toward the ceiling like fingers.  Her books, movies, and music neatly tucked away on bookshelves, with spines facing out, unapologetically, exposing her tastes to anyone who entered the room.  In the first bedroom, two white, wooden stairs lead to a doorway with a transparent glass knob.  I turn it and discover a staircase leading to a third floor, where I do not go.  In the kitchen a small, black table sits in the corner – with only one place setting, but enough room for two.  A bamboo placemate, white linen napkin, a single solid, black napkin ring made from some type of horn.  In the corner of the table sits a large, dark wooden bowl, and nested inside it, a smaller, blonde wooden bowl.  Both empty.  The kitchen is small, so small, in fact, it may be the only echo of Paris in this place.  At one end of the room, a tiny white stove, with 4 burners and a red, round teapot.  I open the oven and wonder if she could even fit a Thanksgiving turkey inside.  At the end of the room sits a baker’s rack, silver, with four tiers.  On the lower shelves sit plain, white dishes.  Blank canvases stacked neatly on the wire shelves.  Her cupboards border on barren – dry pasta, an unopened jar of salsa, pastel paper baking cups, a moderately expensive bottle of Tuscan red wine.  In another cupboard, three shelves full of glassware, neatly arranged, and, on the top shelf, almost hidden, two red espresso cups sitting on small, red, heart-shaped saucers.  A single wineglass in the dish drainer. 

I move to the bedroom now, small, but comfortable.  The bed fills almost the entire room.  It’s covered in crisp, white linens – a soft, white down comforter topping it all.  Light filters into the room through the slatted shades of two large windows, causing the blonde frame of the bed to take on an even golder appearance.  The nightstand is unassuming, of the same wood, with a small bedside lamp sitting atop it.  The base of the lamp is made from a dark metal, I cannot tell which type, and shaped to look like a pineapple.  The shade is upholstered with brown cloth, small, glass, amber beads dangling from the rim.  Beneath the nightstand sits a singular glass vase, the color of a Tiffany & Co. giftbox.  It is the only piece of art in the room, save for a painting of Monet’s sunflowers on the wall opposite the bed.

I enter the bathroom last, noticing a wall that is slightly out of line, not quite a 90 degree angle.  The floor is covered in organic, ceramic tile, cool beneath the feet.  Glass bottles of lotion sit on the edge of the sink, one brown, one green.  I lift the bottle to my nose – sage and cedar wood.  A handful of bobby-pins sit on the ledge of the white, ceramic tub – the only original feature of the house remaining, I’ve been told.  This tradition, I imagine, has remained the same for all the life of the tub.  The lady of the house letting her hair down here.  Bobby-pins resting on the ledge.

Back in the living room there is an aquarium, the subtle hum of aeration bubbles rising to the surface.  A single orange goldfish swims about, and I wonder if he too believes this is Paris. 

 He swims to me, but says nothing.


One Response to “Paris & a Goldfish”

  1. […] John D. LuerssennH“This is an structure for an affair,” he said, captivating me slightly aback. “It reminds me of a Frenchwoman nook, tucked abstracted in some crossway of the city.” It surprises me, his garner of words, as I conceptualise backwards to the exterior of the house, … […]

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