I know it sounds strange, but I met a Fairy Godmother.
Sitting on a bench in the Akira Kurosawa exhibit in the Petit Palais (art museum), I was lost in my thoughts. I hadn't been feeling well and was debating what to do once I left the museum.
I looked up when I heard a woman standing nearby sigh out loud, as if to catch my attention. She then began to fan herself with a program, exclaiming that she was exhausted and sat down on my bench. She started talking to me, as if we had been visiting the museum together all along. I immediately felt like I knew this woman.
She was small vivacious, talkative, funny. We talked about the Kurosawa exhibit, his movies, Art, museums, and things to do in Paris, Life, what it is all about. She told me that she lives in the countryside and comes up to Paris once a year to visit museums and go to the theater. She asked me about myself, how I was. She told me I was very brave and courageous.
As we were talking, I kept asking myself how it was possible that I felt like I knew her... She was in her mid-sixties, perhaps older; her hair was dark brown and cut in an impish pageboy style. Would she have gotten along with my mom, had she ever met her? Was it my mom she was reminding me of? True, my mom had the same self-assured manner and friendly way with people… I asked her name, “Oh, it’s a stupid name, Elizabeth.” I then asked her, should we perhaps exchange addresses? She brushed my question off. "Whatever for? There is no need for that!" And she was right.
We went together to visit some of the rooms in the museum, showed each other artwork we had admired on our own. She shared some Japanese art she had liked and I showed her a floor-to-ceiling painting of “The Good Samaritan” that looked so real, I had at first thought it was a color photograph. Still talking, we walked out of the museum together and went to the nearest Metro station. She decided to accompany me to the St Michel stop.
We got off the train. I wanted to thank her in for her kindness. I offered to draw a portrait of her and give it to her, but she laughed and refused; she said she looked terrible in portraits. She then hugged me, said "Au revoir, ma grande," kissed me on the cheek, waved goodbye as she walked away, down a flight of stairs to her train, and disappeared among the crowd. She was gone.
I suddenly felt very lonely.