Three years had passed since the lady’s artistic talents had captivated the most influential Madame LaReine. With her help the lady had traveled the globe--London to Bangkok to the infamous New York City and everything in between. She had thought that the unique Asian architecture had impressed and influenced her art, but upon viewing the industrialization of the flourishing young America, her whole style and perspective had changed. Her paintings had become much darker of late; so much so that many people criticized her new art, but she declared that they did not see what she saw as she painted. Out of the darkness she found l’espere. From the gloom and grime of inner-city factories she saw la liberté. She had travelled from the mountains, across the plains and through the forests of the Ohio Valley and had, in the untamed wilderness found la gloire de Dieu.
Thirty-six months, twenty-five thousand miles, five score paintings, and two hundred sketches later the lady returned home to her small town in ---shire. She had done everything, seen every place, met every prominent person in every prominent circle. She was world-renown and celebrated on every continent.
The stars twinkled high in the sky as her beloved sisters ran out to greet her return from her great journey. They bombarded her with questions filled with admiration and wonder. She could hardly keep her mind focused on them, however, as she made her way into the masion. Déjà vu had brought back forcefully a recollection of a beautiful evening just like this over four years ago.
She answered her sisters’ curiosity as best she could, and returned it with a bit of her own—Where was the eldest? Why did she not greet me at the door?—Oh, she has been very lately married!—Magnifique! To whom?!—The clergyman of the parish two towns over—That is good to hear.—Yes sister! And I am engaged to be married as well!—I’m so glad for it. Now if you don’t mind I really am quite tired and think I shall retire now.—Oh dear, how dreadful of us to keep you awake so long. Goodnight dear sister. We have missed you so!
And with that the lady made her way out of the parlour. On her way to sa chambre, a light illuminating a small hallway caught her attention. It seemed very out of place for a candle to burn here at this time of night. The light came from her old drawing studio, just as bare as she had left it, with one exception. The face of an old friend greeted her as she stepped from shadows into the light.
“Ma fille! Elle est retourné! Tout n’est pas perdu!” She watched amazed as the parrot unlocked the cage with his beak, escaping and soaring through the room until he alighted upon her shoulder. “Ahh, and where did you learn to do that mon petit ami?” He squawked and uttered something unintelligible then swooped around the room once more. “What are you doing?” As she laughed, she noticed how old his feathers were looking, how cumbered he seemed to be as he flew around the room.
How old was this old friend? He had been around for as long as she could remember and perhaps her parents had him before then. She remembered when, as a child, she would thrill to see him soar around the rooms. Then, as she grew into a young woman he became quite the nuisance, always pestering, squawking, disrupting her learning and societal interactions. As she grew into a woman, though, he became the dearest friend she had ever had. He would listen to all her hopes, worries, fears and triumphs, and never say a cross or bitter word. He would let her stroke him as tears splashed his bright feathers whenever she was overwhelmed by the world’s expectations or cruel intentions. And yet, never once did he complain. Never once did he betray her secret confidences.
How old did parrots live? She did not know. But a new project was forming in her mind, to be dedicated for her friend. She would draw him as she remembered him; young, bright, vibrant; following she would draw a series of portraits painting him in the light she remembered him by to the present way he looked. Love would caress every brush stroke; admiration every tint. In two weeks time the world would have a very beautiful series of pristine and colorful parrots overflowing with beauty and detail.
She pondered on the title very briefly before stumbling upon the answer:
Titre: Passer par la centre-vie.
Par: La femme
Pour: Vous, comme toujours