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PHPA

April 2010: Sarah Preston

PHPA in English

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“MADAM, YOU’VE DROPPED SOMETHING.”

At my feet, a piece of paper containing a few scribbled words: “Meet me at the Hôtel du Panthéon, room 61.” And yet, I hadn’t anything in my hands, and the handwriting wasn’t mine. I turn round to look at the person who had spoken to me… No-one.

I discretely pick up the note and slip it into my pocket.

At the corner of rue Amyot and rue Tournefort I turn left. Trusty rue Clothilde will help me decide. “Should I go? Shouldn’t I?”, “Is this what they call an adventure?”. Tick, tick, tick. The paving stones echo my heartbeat.

19 place du Panthéon. “Bonjour! Welcome to the Hôtel du Panthéon.” I smile, embarrassed, hoping that it doesn’t show. Sixth floor. I take the lift. At the top is a roof window. The warm tones of the wood, and these ladies in togas, dancing like me, except that no-one can see.
Door 61. I take a quick look around. No-one in the stairwell, some noises from downstairs, sheets being folded. Probably the chambermaids.

The room is empty but the partly unmade bed indicates a presence. Floral motifs, exotic fruit, red passion… and outside the blue of night that gently covers the Panthéon.

The hours go by, the wait is interminable, then nothing else seems to exist and each noise makes me hold my breath. The carpet counts each of my steps, the curtains tire of my fingers, and the sheets… They will not know the warmth of my body.

19 hours later, I leave.
I tell a girlfriend about the adventure. “And you didn’t even make the most of the view of the Panthéon!” 
No, she’s right. Waiting for who knows what, I forgot the monument that was under my very nose.

Hôtel du Panthéon
April 2010

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