She’s never told me her name. And I never ask. I don’t ask her age, either. But she’s younger than me. At least, she looks younger; firm, soft skin, dark shining hair worn in a chin-length bob. And she’s thinner; I never ever see her eat anything. But she feels old. She knows things. And she’s completely fearless.
She rarely dresses to go out, preferring to wear something soft, flowing; a kimono at times, unbelted and worn over flowing satin or silk house pajamas. Other times a getup that looks straight out of the roaring twenties; a knee-length sheath dress and kitten heels. She has an overweening fondness for polishing her toenails (but never her fingernails), and often does this while talking to me. From a chaise lounge, the Paris skyline visible beyond the balcony behind her. Occasionally I hear an underlying French accent. When she’s angry, or excited.
She smokes; Gauloises, from the look of them. I can see the smoke, drifting in dreamy arabesques, up and out the French doors to the balcony, but thankfully I can’t smell it. She spares me that. So she’s not inconsiderate. But she is demanding, and can be petulant. (Sorry, but sometimes you are.)
If she gets really tired of me, of my not understanding, or being too lazy or distracted to do what she‘s telling me, she refuses to speak in English, lapses into French until I do whatever I must do to mollify her. Not an easy task; she is impervious to flattery, and can’t be bought with the usual gifts one gives to a friend who feels wronged.
She often comes out with me. When she can be coaxed into putting on shoes (she loves to go barefoot) and something appropriate for venturing forth into the world. She’s a great companion; often whispering to me: look at his hands – remember those for later, or listen to the way she speaks – you’ll need that. When she points something out like this I always listen; experience has taught me to do so. And nothing pisses her off more than me looking up at her later, mid-sentence and saying: what hands are you referring too? What woman’s voice?
You don’t want to see the distain on her face, hear the swearing (in French, so it doesn’t sound that bad, really, but still) a stupid question like this can elicit .
Merde, she mutters, finally, squinting at me, one-eyed, to keep the smoke from a smoldering Gauloise from blinding her, What am I to do with you?
Do you ever get the feeling your stories are ‘being told to you’? If your muse were personified, what would she be like?