'The art of life lies in getting things done'. Words on a brief note.
Red-eyed, red-haired and sleepy, she was sitting by the window, about to order her first cup of coffee. It was early morning and it had to be this poky little cafe that she hated so much. The place smelled of people. Millions of people that may or may not have been here at any given moment in history. Aristocrats. White collars. Working class. Millions. This was what she once said to him in a jazz bar when he pushed his glass towards her: 'It tastes like my grandmother's village'. Scotch whisky: brutal, punishing sort.
And now this place smelled of people. Thick smell of pavements, villages, boiled eggs and cigarettes. She ordered a medium-sized cappuccino and tried to imagine this was somewhere else. Somewhere in Italy, when they first met on a beach in Tuscany and he tried to bury her legs in the sand. She screamed and turned around and he was standing over her with a toothpick in his mouth. He looked huge, like a basketball player. He smelled huge, too, but that was not the smell of a basketball player. Rather, it was that strong odor of seduction she had long associated with James Stewart. She had seen him in Shop Around The Corner two Christmases ago.
'I want to sculpt you', he said, and then she followed him to his hotel room.
The sculpting went well (as far as sculpting goes), and he almost had the time to finish it off. His James Stewart voice never broke the silence, except once, when he reprimanded her for dyeing her hair red. She found this remark offensive and somewhat strange as it would not matter on a sculpture, but she never said anything. It now hit her, by the draughty window of a cheap Tuscan cafe, that this had happened only yesterday. And three hours ago she had woken up in his empty hotel room to a brief note saying something about the art of life. She was trying hard to remember, but the words escaped her.
The girl who was serving her looked in horror, the second cup of coffee dropped on the floor, as the striking woman by the window did not move and had a stone face that, if you did not pay too much attention, rather became her.