The mid-summer sun rose quietly over the Parisienne rooftops. She awoke to its soft golden light spilling through the shutters into her sparsely furnished apartment and after a moment or so basking in the glow she rose to open both shutters and window as far as they would go. A warm breeze wafted through the room. She made coffee and sat at the table in front of the window, sipping the dark brown liquid and rereading the letter she had read each morning since it arrived five days ago.
Odette, You are the only person I think of as I do this. I do not know where it will lead and when I will return, but I miss you every moment of every day. There are others who have come into my life but it is you whom I will never forget. You whose sweet lips and long dark hair haunt my thoughts, my heart, my soul. The picture of you waiting for me at our café table in Montmartre is etched in my memory – you in a red chiffon dress, knees crossed, reading the copy of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet I gave as a gift. But now the light is fading as night begins to fall so I must end. I will write more soon. Until then, ma chérie d’amour. François
Still holding the letter she looked out across the waking city, out to Montmartre, to the days of her youth and her brief love affair with François, the most beautiful man she had ever known, tall and lithe, strong and attentive, his brilliant mind and insatiable desire forever urging him onward. Over the years he had continued to write and not once did he include a return address. She glanced back to the letter in her hand and she smoothed it along the folds made by his hand, sliding it carefully back into the cream envelope that bore his distinctive script. As she tucked in the flap she knew it was time to leave, to leave this apartment, her beloved Paris and France, and return to her home in Montreal. A decade was long enough to wait.
~ Odette was written in response to Café Table. © 2011 Mufidah Kassalias. All rights reserved.