The Irish Saint, and a young couple

Guillaume & MatildeThey find the place, as they hoped for, a spacious, airy fifth floor apartment in Tempelhof, in a quiet street. There is a wide balcony, and a large lounge, which Sarah and Melissa immediately love. Julian is enthusiastic with the view over the old airfield, Berliners’s favourite playground, where the three of them go running three times a week. The smallest room will be his study, his lair, where he can hide when the other two decide to play without him, and where he will continue working at the great story.

They look at each other, the morning after their first night there, boxes, clothes and books littering the whole floor: it’s like a honeymoon, everything is new, the future belongs to them. They start making plans: exploring the neighbourhood, finding the good shops, the best places for drinking and dancing, the shortcuts. They talk about a holiday, perhaps in Normandy, maybe visiting Julian’s old friend, Saint Laurent O’ Toole, the holy bishop who died in Eu, in 1180 (he remembers the celtic cross, behind the church, facing the valley and the hill where the saint rests in the little chapel). Sarah says that the littoral there would be a lovely setting for a shoot, Melissa and her, and the ghosts of Guillaume and Mathilda. Immediately Melissa wants to know who Mathilda was. Sarah explains: the cousin of the warrior, at first their wedding condemned by the Pope, then, the glory, the bliss, and later England, the conquest, their graves in Caen… Melissa wants to go and see the tapestry, Sarah has to promise.

Julian embarks on wiring the place, there is apparently a very good connection in the apartment. For them the future takes shape, here in Berlin, and there, perhaps later in Guillaume’s country. One morning, when Melissa has gone out shopping, Sarah asks her husband:

“So, about this war, what does it mean?”

Julian is slow to understand the question. Then, speaking slowly, as if reluctantly admitting the truth:

“It means they have failed, and I do not know what they will do next…”

Silently they agree that they wouldn’t touch the subject again: enough has been said, and they refuse to stir the ghosts any further. They talk about Julian’s progress on the novel, waiting for Melissa to come back. When she does, Sarah and her disappear in the kitchen for more giggles. Julian sits at his desk, soon the notes of Medusa fill his room.