You thought of alternative lives as you climbed the steps up from the rue Saint Julien, she would say. You thought of them as you descended.
Steps are conducive to fantasy, he would say. Going up and down lets the mind float free. How often we run up and down the steps of our own lives, he would say. As we run up and down the scales of a piano.
And always with his hat on, his wife would say. Yes, always with my hat on. You see, he would say, I’m a creature of habit. I belong to an older generation. I would have felt naked without my hat and tie.
He had to explain to me that a Baroque suite was not something elaborate you served up at the end of a meal, she would say, laughing her full-throated laugh.
You had other qualities, he would say. She certainly made life comfortable for him, saw to it that he had everything he wanted and was not disturbed by any of the details of daily living. He for his part looked up to her, would do nothing without her consent, wanted her to say when he was tired and ready for bed, when he was hungry and ready for a meal. All their friends commented on the sense of harmony and well-being that emanated from their home in the hills high up above Abergavenny.
In a way he had been happy alone in his tiny Paris apartment. His desk was under the skylight and as he worked he felt the sun warm the top of his head and neck. When he poured the tea into his cup in the early morning silence it sometimes seemed to him as if all of existence was concentrated into that