Strasbourg comics about happiness…

First. Heart and body of a sad madam

Outside they were clamoring and walking amicably. They leaked from the entrances and streets – and rushed in the same direction – and this flow slowly, without a fuss, carried these colored small groups to some kind of harbor. The people were solemn, performed one after another by families and couples. They presented themselves importantly – all pointed to a non-vertebrate moment, not just another weekend.

The summer dressed gentleman in a black suit raised his head to the evening sun, still golden, squinted like a cat, noticed me in the window – and gently raised his lilac hat in greeting.

In front of him was a girl of a tender age, wh, looks like wearing high heels for the first time, dressed in a terracotta dress with a fluffy skirt, like a doll, walked proudly, bearing, like in expensive phiale, some new, only promulgated status. She held on to a peer boy, who appeared to be a much younger, anxious teenager: he lowered his shoulders and head as if clogged in a snail shell and hid a confused flush. But he walked the same way as he was playing a role that had not yet been studied, which frightened him endlessly. He seemed to be quite uncomfortable – and, the one, who was holding his arm, was so beautiful and so frightening! I thought: it seems that their parents have just betrothed them. And they go, as the future correctly selected pair. And they are still children – that’s why this game captured them today unexpectedly, it’s only then they will learn all the public protocols of a good family, and they will replenish this flotilla with a ship under their own flag.

So Strasbourg Jews were walking and smiling down the streets.

The colors were fresh and juicy, their outfits, hats, handbags and ties were a bit old-fashioned – as if I looked through Lion Feuchtwanger. Only here everyone was finally happy.

They were going to the synagogue. There was a Sabbath. And also – someone had a wedding. Someone was already raising his family silk flag – and everyone was going to salute, suggesting how to do it, holding candles, counting pink cream flowers on a properly baked biscuit, asking whether there would be great-grandmother’s wedding porcelain dinner set on the table, the surviving (she then, wiping with a towel, folded it to the box, hid in the cellar, and went somewhere with those people with rifles, and still she didn’t come back). At the gate to the synagogue, there were armed policemen. They were very vigilant. But also smiling, at the same time as everyone. They tasted the chocolate wedding bonbonnieres, which were handed by the elder lady in a lace bonnet adorned with an amusing satin bird. It was reminiscent of the medieval Madame de Sevigne – the author of the famous epistolary of French literature, in whose style the windows of the Strasbourg Museum of the Secrets of Chocolates are decorated…

Only gray antiquity knows that the heart of the elegant lady was all in ugly scars, and her beautiful body was destroyed… Her Marquis de Sevigne loved a new Madame every day, and died in a duel because of his mistress… After her own death, this betrayed unhappy woman didn’t rejoice the eternal received peace  – the revolutionaries have taken her skull from the grave and sawed it in half… They say – they wanted to compare his anatomical structure to the ordinary people…

Who senses the bitterness of this chocolate from the 17th century?… But every day we repeat this phrase without knowing its author, the sad and exquisite Madame de Sevigne: “The more I know about people, the better I like dogs”… But she said then another “We do not have such pleasures and joys that didn’t lose these names when they are countless and got in an easy way”… I love her exquisite and bitter experience and I tell when I try to deceive myself, cherishing some hope and not letting her die in time – “Long hopes weaken joy the same way as long illnesses relieve pain”…

The elderly lady gave a pretty bonbonniere to another passerby and seemed to look judiciously over her shoulder upwards – in my direction: why do not you leave all these thoughts and associations to yourself today, better have yourself a cocoa or a cup of triple chocolate – this always makes the sorrow only an important decoration of a generally happy being…

I looked at them all from the window of my hotel, where I stayed in this Jewish corner of the city for absolute pennies. Although, probably, here it would be necessary to take, as for the orchestra – the contemplation of all these mise-en-scenes would be worth it.

It’s so good that people have such a day – and all the bustling world, all its pain and stupidity cease to be a part of you. The world and the person live this day on their own, diverge in their corners and do not torture each other…

Put on something old-fashioned and go, leaving all the grief, collected in life, somewhere beyond the brackets… Good idea. I’m coming!

By Olha Gerasimiyuk

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