Paris is a City uniquely suitable for those who dine alone,’ I thought to myself sitting alone in a corner of a fashionable cafe. Through the window I can see that the snow is falling heavier now, the snow flakes settling on the chairs and tables outside like a lace cover.
My name is Adolfina. A name that given the tumultuous events of the last few years, I would like to change. I am 28 years old and come from Potosi a small city in Bolivia. My uncle is very wealthy and owns a tin mine in Huanuni about 60km from Potosi. His mine supplied valuable silver and tin to the allies during the war. It is through him that I find myself living in a small studio in the Latin quarter of this beautiful city.
In my own country I am a celebrated cellist, and tonight I will play at the famous concert hall ‘La Villette Park.’ My charming mentor and friend Claudia is late and I wonder if she has been delayed by the weather. I am not unduly worried because the journey I am about to undertake I have made many times before. It’s just today of all days I would have enjoyed her convivial company.
Even though the steaming coffee is gradually warming my insides, there is a chill in the room and I pull the blue silk scarf my Father gave me round my exposed neck. Soon I will have to go out into the snow and catch the tram to the concert. My cello stands upright like a sentinel near the door. To the other patrons in the cafe I probably appear the image of calmness when in reality my emotions are a mixture of excitement and trepidation at the thought of this evening’s performance.
The Cafe door swings open, amidst a gust of snow an elegant Mademoiselle in a floor length fur, glides into the room. For a moment she glances at my Cello and has a brief animated dialogue with the owner. Under one arm cocooned in a travel coat is a small dog of the poodle variety. She is greeted enthusiastically by the owner who guides her to a table next to mine, where she places her dog on the seat next to me.
I smile politely at the Mademoiselle, who inspects me with the air of someone who has something nasty on her shoe, while her dog sniffs the skirts round my waist. The rotund Maitre D’ arrives at the table, his stomach spilling over his white apron. He brings a menu and participates in ritual small talk.
In between feeding her poodle morsels from her handbag the Mademoiselle says the snow is an inconvenience but life must go on, Parisians are nothing but resilient. I hear that she is looking forward to attending the much publicised Concert.
Later as the curtain goes up I see the woman whispering to a German officer.