Fantasy Inspirational Fiction

I leave the Faculty Library towards Place Jussieu and from here I want to take the bus because I’m not in a hurry. Traveling by subway is not a solution anymore for me when I can avoid it. Using the bus, I can see the city in more detail. The discovery of a new place means for me to feel its pulse, its daily life. The subway takes you through the belly of the city where the arteries lead in closed wagons, people in a hurry or tired. They can be tired because of the weather and times alike. Or on the contrary, they can be light as the birds of the sky, with their minds’ eyes following on who knows what dreams or chimeras.

A weird mood enveloped me. The documentation for my paper took me to the Paris of yesteryear and I have an acute feeling that I have not found out new things but that I have only rediscovered a world deep hidden in my heart. A dream I couldn’t remember in its details made me wake up with unusual emotion. Its existence lingered in my mind beyond the moment of my awake. This somehow prepared me for what I felt all morning at the library and now as I wait at the bus station at Cardinal Lemoine.

I take the bus with a strange shadow on my mind. The route passes through the typical Parisian landscape, which, as if in any part of the city, does not let you doubt you are right here in Paris. This city has something only of its own. Maybe the houses with specific architecture, with their indispensable forged iron balconies, maybe the intersections that remind me of the idea of crossroads in life, maybe the chic women on the street or the dancing walk of the locals, each one and altogether is only of Paris.

Streets, houses, people, destinies pass again before my hungry eyes. I’m thirsty for joy and peace and somehow this traveling is like a blessed spring for me. What amazes and worries me is this feeling of being at home, which I have experienced nowhere else. An exception is that “at home” which is natural to me, that spot of my roots.

In the Madeleine square, the bus bypasses the church while the sun is playing with its column like the nymphs with the harp strings. Then it turns left onto a narrow street. It is a little street, like many others, that sprig in different directions, starting from the Parisian squares. I see on a blue plaque fixed on the white wall of a house its name: Rue Chaveau-Lagarde and in my mind, the character Lagardere wakes up from the memories of childhood readings.

Suddenly I shudder. A beige gate, like many others on the streets of Paris, appears outlined among the eyes of shop windows. It is a gate of wood and seems to open the way to the windows above. These windows also are common in this city. They reveal white wooden shutters and the indispensable wrought iron, just suggesting a balcony. Between the rows of windows, the white wall hides round shapes like wide eyes that now appear well outlined but something, in my mind, turned them a little different and grayer. An acute need to get off becomes strong and I follow the bus route anxiously, hurrying to the door. The bus stops as soon as it enters Malesherbes Boulevard.

I head back to the street I just passed and look for the building that aroused a tumult of emotions in my soul.

The street seems to reveal itself differently to me. It is less animated, without buses and with bizarrely dressed people. I find the house that stole my thoughts and enter the gate, which is no longer beige: now it’s a dark gray, matched with the walls showing a dirty white color. Only wrought iron does not seem to have changed its appearance. I don’t know why but I seem to know what I’m going to find. A long corridor, lit only by the sunny green in the distance, reveals a hidden garden somewhere at the end. My heart is strongly pounding under my left breast. A strange longing and a weird love animate it. I stop at the last point of the corridor and stare in amazement at the garden. Somewhere on the left, I see a tree dear to me, a weeping willow guarding a pond. On its edge, cupids with chubby feet pour cool water inside the pond from stone vessels.

A bench enjoyed the shade under the green hair of the weeping willow. On the bench sits a woman with a hat hiding her face. She suddenly raises her face and looks up at me. Unusual dizziness envelops me. For several minutes, I can’t move. The woman in front of me doesn’t move, either. She looks calmly at my astonishment. A strong need for clarifying my thoughts triggers the next move I’m doing. I take a mirror out of my bag and look at myself. Yes, it’s for sure I, but who is the woman in front of me? She has my look, not any doubt, only that the clothing somehow reminds me of a mix of modern elements in distinct moments of my life. What life? - my mind asks me with some concern. Your life now! The answer comes with a slightly ironic tone. A quick moment I ask myself why’s necessary clarification, but looking at the woman on the bench, the answer somehow emerges on its own.

I analyze carefully the woman. She has a white hat with small edges and not a high top. A large flower-shaped bow, dark red, is added on the left side. The long dress, made of light silk, delicately surrounds her long neck and falls elegantly on her slender body. At this moment I realize that the woman with my look is much younger than me now. She reminds me pretty well about myself, in my student years. It’s just that I had long hair. I look at the young woman in front of me again and, as if guessing, I see her gently taking off her hat and undoing the knot of hair gathered back and letting it flow over her shoulders. She seems to say to me beyond the playful smile: Don’t lie to yourself; look, the hair is just as long. Suddenly the dream of last night seems to take shape in my memory. Of course, you knew we’d see each other again! That’s what she said in my dream. I try to remember if she was in this garden. The statue to the right of the bench depicting a nymph with a bouquet in her hand seems to whisper to me: Yes, look at me, I was here as well!

Everything that happens to me is confusing. I’m feeling a bizarre need to rub my eyes. The garden is shining in the sun. Suddenly I realize that beyond the bench on this left side of my look the sky reveals itself freely, unobstructed by the silhouettes of buildings.

I turn my head and look straight ahead. This section seems different. Straight in front of me raises another wing of the building with white walls. The eyes of windows loom in the sky with immaculate shutters. It is a variant of the same building that I saw from the bus, a wing that encloses the inner garden. The green colors are still here but the decor is minimalist and somehow stylized. The pond turned now into a pool of goldfish. Abstract nickel statues rise from the lawn separating the pool from the back wing of the building. And this image seems very familiar to me. Right, my dream last night revealed it to me and I know I belong in this moment to this part. But I feel something is missing. What could miss from a dream? My mind whispers: the future is missing. I feel my head pushed by an unseen force to the right. What I find is the same garden in another sequence, except that it almost has no green. A single plant that looks artificial is stuck in a metal pot with bizarre shapes. A metallic pillar marks the distance between the pool (dry this time) and the dark building that flanks the back of the garden. Spherical shapes woven by long wires highlight the pillar from different heights. I can see a young woman figure leaning against the metallic structure. She is wearing a black suit molded to his body and a helmet that covers his head. She takes off her big black glasses and gapes at me. A shiver runs down my spine and a frown changes my expression. I rest my trembling hand on the right wall of the corridor. I freeze again, finding myself in the woman in black. The same face, the same look, the same type of figure. The woman takes off her helmet and that ripe chestnut hair spills over her shoulders. Yes, it’s the same hair - seems to tell me the woman’s eyes. I turn my head to the left bench.

The woman in black with the same face and allure looks at me as if with curiosity. Involuntarily, I put my hand to my head. My short hair has lost not only its length from my youth but also its ripe chestnut color. But it’s the same hair, for sure. I see this woman with a helmet looking back at the left end of the garden. She raises her eyebrows at me with a kind of wonder and then seems to fall into deep thoughts.

Now my dream from last night is coming clear. The puzzle pieces fit nicely. Three paintings, three sequences of a garden, with three combinations of numbers, are outlined in my mind: 1920, 2021, 2888.

I smile, remembering that I had recently read somewhere that time, in the future, will not be an insurmountable barrier. This garden looks now for me as a landscape without time borders. It’s the garden of my fate, of my different lives.

A Parisian house gave me a discreet signal showing me the garden of my fate seen from the last point of a corridor. My last night’s dream and this moment revealed to me why I always felt at home in Paris.

Only one thought saddens and worries me: why is the right corner of the garden so dull, austere, and sad? Where and when has been lost the natural green?

July 21, 2021 23:34

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