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un assortiment: doors and windows | portes et fenêtres

When a door or window closes, another somewhere opens.  I look sometimes at the closed door or window too long, neglecting the one which has opened for me.  It can decide the life I will live.

Once, not too long ago, I wanted to spend some months in Paris.  I had been in the habit of reserving a room at Les Marronniers, un hôtel de famille, one of the last pensions that recalls the tradition of the 19th century and reminds one of a setting from a novel by Balzac.  I could not get a reservation.  I know the propriétaire, I had stayed at Les Marronniers on numerous occasions, but Marie told me that all the rooms had been reserved.  If I was to travel back to France, I would need to change the destination.  Soon I had an offer of an apartment on the Côte d’Azur.  Another opportunity.

On Saturday Mary Cook sells silver at the market on Place Nationale in Antibes.  She sells in Paris as well.  The other day she explained to me that she had recently purchased a small apartment near the Eiffel Tower and was intending to spend more time in Paris, where she has a small shop, too.  Selling silver in Antibes has dried up, she said.  No one is buying anymore.  Life has taken a turn for me, she said.

What if . . . ?  What if you return home one day and find behind the door of your home an unfamiliar world?  What if the people closest to you turn out to be strangers?  What if the memories of the most important moments in your life can no longer be trusted?  What if certain decision in the past had turned out differently and your life had gone in a different direction?  The Blue Door.

I gather images of doors and windows as I wander the narrow streets of the little villages on the Côte d’Azur.  As time permits I will add to the collection.  [Click on one of the images and you will see a slide show.]

Do you remember the story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton?  You may have read it for homework.  Or, you may have seen it in an anthology of short stories.  Briefly, a cruel leader punishes offenders in his kingdom by requiring them to face two doors in an arena.  Behind one door is a ferocious tiger and behind the other door is a beautiful woman picked by the leader himself.  No one knows which door hides the tiger or the woman, not even the cruel leader.  Either the offender will be found innocent when he opens the door to find the woman whom he must marry, or he will be found guilty when the tiger emerges and kills him.

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