Not as early as usual, after a truckload of medicine and woollens wrapped around me to the high heavens, Alice and I headed towards the Paris flea market at Porte de Vanves, which is ten minutes away on foot. We arrived to a feast for the eyes: Where does this stuff grow? After all these years how can it be as plentiful? We fell in love with more than we could ever want, need or afford. In the midst of glorious wonder, with stories beckoning to be told: Gilded wood from a chateau, relics from churches, tapestries from talented hands, teacups that lips long ago touched...
Alice found a painting leaning on a table, nearly covered by the table's shadow, as if waiting for her to pass by. "How much?" she asked with a sweet innocence. The price announced was very reasonable, and yet the man winked at her sweetness nudging her to ask for less saying he would honor it. Ah youth! Ah gentle encouragement with the naive soon to be buyer. Alice asked for less, and the dealer gave it to her for less than what she asked.
A buyer was born. The Brocante Bug knows how to swoop in, kissing its victims with desire to save history for future generations.
Later Alice would ask me how she was going to get it back home in Australia.
I rubbed my hands, "Oh where there is a will there is a way," then teased, "If not I know a place of safe keeping."
The painting fits snug in her oversized suitcase.
We went home laden with finds.
We are ready for tomorrow.