The telephone on the bedside table rang, jolting her out of her reverie. Andrea had clearly instructed the front desk to withhold all calls. She didn’t want to be disturbed. Perhaps it would be the sweetest night to die.
The evening before, she attempted a soporific or two. Usually with champagne. Everything else would leave, an aftertaste like noxious diesel fumes in an uncontaminated part of the city. How she hated the city because of that one unremedied defect, besides the dirty, loud tourists, and the hurried automatons, constantly rushing without pause, without stopping to smile or breathe, their grimaces pouting or squinting like a Warhol living installation.
As if that, is more important than living itself. The city used to be filled with lovers from all walks of life.
She then made a mental note, that it has to be somewhere outside the periphery of the city, that she’ll build her home.
There’ll be a garden large enough to cater to official functions to cater to heads of states, dignitaries, perhaps royalties and their obnoxious bodyguards, and the media; guests annexe for the whole village when they decide to pay her a visit, and a home large enough for a future mother-in-Law or something to that effect, and her good son, as an intimate friend and perhaps, lover. They could always snuggle through the East or West wings on tip toes in the evenings, if need be provided everything went according to plan. Often, it doesn’t, and Andrea would rush to the drawing room to reprogram the dream.
A girl ought to dream big. She has often been reminded to always dream bigger. Life is grand enough, and the universe magnificent for very very big dreams.
Ever since she woke up at two, her senses had heightened — Life tastes much better without drowning in the tears of civilisation. The wailing sirens seemed like an aspersion to a tragic sequel, whatever little happiness at that level is best kept silenced between two hearts, one soul. There is more vanity enshrouding the lies the city weaves than the careless masks one adduce in quotidian masquerades.
“Allô ? Oui, bonjour … c’est qui à l’appareil ?” she whispered, her voice barely perceptible.
Someone had tipped off her arrival at the Foreign Office, and the Consulate’s Desk has been ringing since. She quickly glanced at her watch. It was already eight. Unsure whether it was morning or dusk, she mumbled a gentle blasphemy that was eagerly swallowed by the quietness of the room, and drew the curtains. The imageries were different until she realised she had come home, perhaps for good. Breakfast would have to be near the hotel, perhaps there at rue François 1er or brunch at Alain Ducasse.
She slumped onto a replica of a Louis Philippe wishing she was alert and not lethargically somnolent despite not taking the pills the night before. Had she taken those two tiny white tablets, she would have been dead, at least in her mind or dead on overdose. She reached for the phone and hung up. She had to get ready, and a good warm bath would be much appreciated. She called housekeeping to draw the tub.
There was a strain of sunshine as she stepped out of the foyer, eye indicating a chauffeur. The clouds had parted, and the heavenly beam illuminated the otherwise gloomy morning.
“Where to, Madame?” he politely asked, as he bent his head close enough so she could hear his question. She took a whiff of his cologne and smiled “Gucci, s’il vous plaît” she whispered as eager a little girl out to play.
She had travelled lightly and needed a change of good perdurable clothes. Besides she had lost two dress sizes, and Paris will never forgive her for dressing up like tourists. She will never forgive herself for dressing up like a tourist besides her first rendezvous with an agent is in the seventh in about two hours. She had already shortlisted two properties for the Foundation, both totalling less than fifteen unfurnished. And then there’s the issue of the decorators, the architects and the mayor’s office to content with.