Evening with Paul

It was a foul night when he came. Rain and high winds. Like the previous time, he said, which was about four months ago. I opened the door for him, my husband being busy at the piano and the children upstairs, and he came in smiling, his music under his arm. I took his coat from him, told him that I had nearly forgotten him, he had an answer to that, and led the way into the living-room. We all sat near the fire. My husband brought our visitor a glass of wine, red wine from the Pyrenees. It was the only glass on the table and looked a bit funny on its own. I requested one for myself. Besides, I like red wine. My husband didn’t have any without giving a reason.

I drank to Paul’s health and then taught him the correct pronunciation of the words he wanted to sing in my language. My husband was mending some sports equipment while waiting to play the piano for Paul. However, Paul liked it on the settee and stayed put for quite a long time in spite of my husband having stood up. The language problem mastered, Paul started speaking about sport. My husband sat down again. Yes, he said, he used to do quite a lot of this particular sport. You, too? Paul turned to me. I explained I was tired in the evening, having done all my sport during the day, rushing up and down the stairs doing the housework. My husband pulled a face without making any comment. His expression showed clearly what he meant. Paul was amused. Is that what she does? he asked laughing. My husband looked not very pleased.

We passed on to another sport and eventually to music, the real reason for Paul’s coming. I stood between them, checking tune and words. There was scope for improvement. We spent quite a long time getting everything right, my husband visibly tired. We went back to our seats and talked for another hour or so before Paul left. It had been too long an evening really, my husband said. I didn’t think so.