Art imitates Life

Vaux le Vicomte sitting room
This exquisite light flooded room in Vaux le Vicomte looked so wonderfully inviting.
This exquisite light flooded room in Vaux le Vicomte looked so wonderfully inviting.

Art imitates Life

It was a very special mirror. Years of rummaging in the second hand stores had paid off at last. It hung on the wall of the apartment, covered it really; Its wonderful frame a Rococo symphony of cherubs and floral garlands.

The silvering had developed a character of its own over the centuries and the reflections had a quality that suggested viewing the contents of a rock pool exposed by the tide. The activity in the room drifted in and out as it passed across the surface, like a zephyr on the surface of the water. Strange blotches of darkened mercury blossomed and golden droplets scattered themselves over the shimmering silver.

If you faced the mirror you would see, as always the mirror reflecting its view of the day as it evolved.

Even before Audree came into the room the mirror was awash with images, the sun rising in the delightfully paned window over the balcony with its flower boxes overflowing with crimson geraniums. The sunlight flooding through the swagged lace curtains and reflecting off the surface of the beautifully inlaid dining table,  highlighting the exquisite Sevres vase overflowing with a floral bouquet just like a 17th century Dutch still life.

And reflected on the table, two crystal champagne glasses and two settings of porcelain and silver, waiting for the day to begin.

Audree’s reflection enters the room, her simple chintz sundress suggesting fields of wildflowers, her fresh happy face, sunshine, her golden hair, perfect in its casual imperfection.

In the mirror, Audree adjusts one of the silver forks just slightly and disappears from the room, returning soon after with two pain au chocolat and a bowl of fruit the mere reflection of which must cause the mouth to water. She floats out of view and then back again, this time with a silver ice bucket, the golden foil of the champagne peeping expectantly over the top.

Glancing casually at her watch, Audree’s reflection smiles to herself for she knows he will soon be here, and, sure enough, there is the knock at the door.  Audree’s reflection drifts to the door which opens to show her breathtakingly handsome breakfast companion. A step through the door and he enfolds her in an embrace that reflects a passion that will never fade…covering her radiant face with kisses.

And all this reflected in this wonderful mirror. But strange! Turn away from the mirror and look at the room. What is this?

A wan smoggy light drifting in through the dirty window panes of the squalid apartment, the geraniums gone, the curtains grubby and torn. The dining table’s scratched laminated surface with but one cheap glass, half filled with water. A chipped plate with a piece of dried toast, a blob of strawberry jam like a clue at a crime scene. A discount store vase supporting one failing sunflower.

And Audree. Her shabby, unflattering dress, her dull hair, her cheap mascara running as she sits, head down on the old table, crying, crying, crying…alone.



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