The Artist

Magnetically attracted, she walked towards the woman sitting on a bench in the parc. As if she was an old  acquaintance, an old friend, a member of our family.

But no, it was only a stranger who had a magical attraction upon my daughter. My little one was just a few weeks over one-year-old, feeling more and more comfortable walking while holding my hand of course. And now she had targeted this woman, who was enjoying the February sun.

The woman on the bench started talking to her, little one seemed even more confident and went on. At first, the lady took her for a little Monsieur, maybe it was this misunderstanding that got us talking. Being a proud mom, I always set things right and tell people that little one is, in fact, a girl.

Little one was so drawn to the woman on the bench, that I had no choice but to join her for a little chat. Even though our conversation had started in French, we switched to English quickly. After all, the woman was reading a book in English, in which the author talked about being, like us, in the Parc Monceau. After apologising about the sudden and very much unexpected intrusion of my daughter, I started to find out that the person whom I was talking to was actually an artist from New York, who was in Paris for a two-month art residency with an art foundation.

The artist was a sculptor, who during her stay in Paris collected objects of all sorts. She told me that she was starting to worry about customs when travelling back to the U.S. as the objects she had collected were so diverse. In the zoo of the Jardin des Plantes she had received 5 pink flamenco feathers. She had found an old Boy Scout book in the street, as there is apparently a flea market where the sellers just leave some of their unsold goods.

She collected diverse objects on walks through Paris, did she take the metro at times? I don’t know.

Paris is full of surprises. I collected her as a story to tell you.

The artist was not in the Parc Monceau because she was reading about it in her book (borrowed from a public library), no she was there as a friend, who she was meant to meet, later on, recommended her to visit it. To visit it because the friend linked it to many cheery childhood memories.

Little one felt comfortable around the artist. Why? Because she was in the park of her friend’s  childhood? Because she loved babies? Because of her being an artist, like my mother? Because she was open to making friends? Or is there something magic that we don’t know about? A magic that can only be felt by young children?

Little one made me understand that she wanted to sit on the artist’s lap, that she wanted to be admired. She too admired the artist, who was wearing a wondrous locket on a chain around her neck. It was an old piece of jewellery containing two photographs, taken on her wedding day. One of her husband and one of her, strikingly beautiful and beaming with happiness.

Our conversation was long for strangers, but short for friends.

I have the feeling to have gained a new friend, weeks later I fondly remember our encounter.

We talked for almost an hour until the sun stopped giving us its warmth.


© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

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