Sunday, 7 July 2013

Serena and Gustav come home #The Silver Chain

 He looks beautiful sitting on the chair in my bedroom. The stoniness in his features softening despite his best efforts. A flush of colour in his lean cheeks. His hair long and glossy, the blackness of his eyes deepened by his burglar's clothes.
'Can I take a photograph to remember you by? The moonlight suits you. Makes you look younger somehow. It must be your natural lighting.' I lift my camera, all my movements very slow, as if he might vault back over the balcony at any moment.
He remains in the chair, rocking very slightly and holding the glass of red wine. This is me at my best. Stepping round the room, stepping round him, framing and clicking. Trapping him forever in my little glass window.
'What do you mean, remember me by?'
'Well, the show's nearly sold out. Technically I'll be free to come and go as I please.'
He picks up the brush I've just been playing with and strokes it under his nose. Heat surges through me, through my body, up into my face. He can smell me on the bristles.
'Your heart won't let you.'
I remain standing, but I'm cold now. 'We've fulfilled most of the clauses of the agreement in principle. And I'm grateful for your faith in me, the gallery, and the room here, and your contacts and your help.'
'You have no idea.'
He leans forward and takes my wrist. There's a new silver chain, glinting in the moonlight. He hooks it onto my bracelet. I'm hooked onto him. He tugs hard on the chain and as I stumble towards him he scoops me up into his arms and carries me out of the room, down the stairs, past pre-Raphaelite Rapunzel, then he kicks open the double door of his own room.
This is like falling through the looking glass. I haven't changed or gone crazy, like Alice. This isn't a nightmare, or even a dream. I'm still Serena Folkes, the girl in the nightie who has this terrible addiction. But in this moment Gustav has carried me into my new life.
He throws me playfully on to the huge bed which is pushed up against the enormous windows and then goes to stand by the wall opposite. An oblong of light edges in from the landing, but apart from that the room is in darkness.
A tiny spot light pings on to illuminate a framed picture.
'You asked me why I went to Milan. I carried this all the way out there from London and then decided to frame it properly. I was going to give it to you in Switzerland.'

It's the sketch he did of me at the private view, small but perfectly formed. It's been set in the centre of a wide pale green mount and a beautiful silver frame. Instinctively I glance round the room, up at the ceiling. The other walls are totally blank.

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