Lingering in the vacant atrium he inhales the sharp, clean smell of new paint. Through the glass he can see the crew packing the last of the kit into the van on the damp slate driveway. Autumn rain glitters on the last tarp as it is folded and lifted away. The evening moves in with a soft hush through the lavender beds, and a rosy glow is beginning to weep from the horizon. Although he can’t see it from here, he knows how beautifully the upper cladding will sing in this light. For now the douglas fir has a young, honey hue, but over the years it will deepen to rich amber. 

 

He turns to glimpse a lithe wrist extending towards a slate dish of seared figs and wants to descend the terrazzo steps to take a seat beside her, but his body is all drift and no limbs. She winds a crushed velvet scarf tighter around her shoulders and stares straight ahead to the languid forms in the reclaimed teak as if considering an abstract painting. Her expression is astonishingly still. His eyes trace the supple architecture of her brow, her cheek: an inscrutable balance of perfect tension. 

 

Now he is rising in a wide arc over the conversation pit, a neat parade of scatter cushions arriving and dropping like petals in his place. He hovers above a giddy expanse of swedish marble and floats up the floating staircase to the mezzanine. Here, the silver throat of the wood-burning stove is still warm from the shoot, the dusky scent of its embers now subsiding. He remembers suddenly the debris of quotidian existence that will collect on corners: unopened bank statements, mug stains, clothes heaped on the Eames chair. He runs his gaze along the edge of the hand-cast concrete sink and thinks glumly of toothpaste stains, nail-clippings, loops of stray hair. Lost socks will collect their hazes of soft dust under the bed. Crumbling insect bodies will line the sills. He wakes gently before dawn with the ache of preemptive nostalgia still murmuring in his chest.

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