Today I tried on an indigo dyed dress I passed hanging in the window of a fine shop on the cobblestone streets of St. Antonin. I slid it on under the loosely fitted floral dress I had worn inside, removing my cap and allowing the linen beneath to fall to my feet where I stepped out of the overworn, overwashed, oversized garment and into a persona that radiated as brilliantly as the contrasting colors strewn about the soft fabric massaging my every pore. It draped below the knees and flowed elegantly from my hips gently enough to catch slivers of sunlight radiating from cavities created with every stride I took towards the mirror on the store’s sidewall.
A life unfit for the likes of me, at least for now, I gently shrugged it back into place on its appropriate hanger and tucked it back amongst the other unique pieces, carrying on my way, but wearing the confidence I carried in the short time I outfitted as another.
I took my time walking across the wreathed bridge, stopping to admire how silently the water slid below the arches, the current licking the lining of stones strewn about the shallow water with the occasional canoe scraping across its surface. The restaurant I had admired from our side of the river, shaded by overgrowth and glowing in the fluorescence of foliage, housed two groups engrossed in conversation I had no ability to engage in, separated by a singular table calling for my order to which I gladly indulged – a three course lunch soaked in silence and sprinkled with bouts of drawing in ink on the watercolor paper I carried in my purse, a commitment I hadn’t intended, but which became far too visually delicious to stop, followed by an Americano sweetened by a dark chocolate stick melting in it’s comfort.
After two decadent hours, part of which passed in the accompaniment of the restaurant owner at Le Festin de Babette, watching linearly at every loose-handed stroke, I stood and wandered lightheadedly back the path I had taken, leaving my logic warming the seat I stood from.
I tucked the drawing into the pages of my book and wondered if the next time I thought of that place, I would recall the image captured in its traditional context, or that which was visually enunciated by my fingertips.