L’Esprit D’Escalier: Part Twenty-three. Patrice.

by | Dec 25, 2023 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

His busy taste buds were soothed further by the baked blackberry and vanilla of the medium aged red wine.

A bottle of merlot had been left on the kitchen table, courtesy of Lucien’s hosts. He uncorked it and poured a large glass. His busy taste buds were soothed further by the baked blackberry and vanilla of the medium aged red wine. The warm sensation that had followed him from the Manor House swelled further as he swallowed the spicy brew. He had just settled into the armchair when a polite tap sounded at the door. Unlike at home, he wasn’t at all anxious about the caller. It couldn’t be a patient in demand of yet more of his dwindling time.

Lucien was hugged by a strange comforting sensation as he pushed himself up from the chair. He already knew the caller was special, before he saw the beautiful form of the expectant young woman at the door.

“Good evening Doctor Lucien. May I come in?” Patrice said, her disarming smile was something to behold. Illuminated by the porch light, her stunning features were enhanced by the shadows. Her dark eyes seemed to glow complementing the smile on her full lips. Lucien said nothing beckoning her in with a wave of his arm. They both settled in the lounge, still in silence. Lucien was enchanted by the exotic beauty.

As he attempted to avert his gaze, he realised that something was missing. The constant image of Marielle in his mind. Every time he closed his eyes he could see her. Now he couldn’t recall her at all, as if he was suffering selective amnesia. How he’d prayed for that in the past. To eliminate her from his life forever, taking the aching torment with it. His manners pulled him back to the present.

“Forgive me, Patrice. May I offer you a drink?” Looking down briefly at her baby bump, he continued.”Water? Juice? I could make some tea.”

“A glass of water would be perfect. You mustn’t drink alone.” She replied, her voice and intonation were a sonic delight. Lucien got up and took a bottle of spring water from the fridge. He poured some into a tumbler and handed it to his guest.

“Is there something I can do for you? Is it the baby? Everything is alright, isn’t it?” However Lucien knew that wasn’t the reason for Patrice’s visit. She was calm and composed.

“No, doctor. What brings me here is you. I have heard so much about you in recent weeks. What you do for the people from my country and similar places. What you do for the poor people of Paris.” She breathed, taking a sip of the water.

“I’m afraid I’m just doing my job. It’s what I trained to do and probably not as well these days. Things are tough for everyone.” Lucien responded although his feeling of satisfaction at this woman’s praise contradicted his answer.

“No, doctor. You are surely an angel sent from God.” She put the glass down and rested her hands on her stomach.

“Thank you for such a beautiful compliment, but I am nothing of the kind. May I ask where the father is?” He attempted to change the subject.

“Dead. After he raped me, I stabbed him with his own knife. He was a rebel soldier who ambushed our convoy,” Patrice’s tone was flat and matter of fact as if she’d just described a recipe. Lucien was horrified and tried to hide his shock. “It’s alright. I can talk about it now. Christine has been so helpful. I have attended therapy and their acceptance of me and Boubou makes it much better.” Her command of the language was perfect.

“I’m so sorry to hear of your ordeal and pleased that you’ve had help.” He couldn’t think of anything to say. However, his guest was the opposite. She went on to describe her journey from Sierra Leone. The fact that she’d suffered beatings, rape and robbery, not to mention her desperate act of self defense. Lucien’s eyes filled tears as he listened to her story. All of his own woes evaporated like steam from a kettle. However, his admiration for this beautiful enigma seemed to take over his very being. He tried again to recall Marielle’s face, to no avail. Something was happening in this magical place and this evening visit was part of it.

“I’m sorry for bothering you so late and unannounced. I’ll let you enjoy your wine.” She took another sip of water and slowly got to her feet. She was tiny, a fact that was emphasised by the size of her swollen midriff. “May I come and see you again?”

“Of course Patrice. You are welcome anytime,” Lucien replied, following her to the door.

“Thank you. I would like that very much,” and with that she leaned towards him, on tiptoes and her lips brushed his cheek. She turned and exited the house but her presence remained. Something had been deposited in Lucien’s subconscious. Something magical. He returned to the lounge and slumped into the chair. He inhaled deeply, held his breath for a few seconds then exalted, puffing out his cheeks. Lifting the glass, Lucien took a large mouthful of wine and rolled it around his mouth.

1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Childs

    Lovely and descriptive perhaps he will abandon his murderous plan.


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