The first step in the journey was to abandon reason and embrace the absurd.
He seemed to recall, or perhaps imagined, that he first saw her standing in the entryway of a magnificent dining room in a house that he had yet developed the vocabulary to fully describe. They smiled at each other and something in her eyes, some subtle shifting of light, told him that she too would require a new vocabulary.
The challenge intrigued him. The first image, the first word, that sprang into his head was aloof, but the word rung flat in his mind. While she had been standing there quietly by herself for some time, seemingly oblivious to the conversations all around her, she didn’t seem unapproachable. She seemed somehow displaced and disconnected, but in no way distant. Her expression was completely open, completely receptive. He felt that she was someone he could talk to, someone he could write about. So he walked up and introduced himself.
It only took a few minutes of conversation to realize that it would be very difficult to describe her. In trying to study her face, her mannerisms, everything about her, for details that might define her character, he instead found himself drawn to how her eyes reflected the marvelous intricacy and beauty around her. Like a leaf carried away by a torrent of rain, he felt pulled towards a destination unknown to him. Later, she led him to a wine cellar to show him her work.
“What do you think the floor is made of?” she asked with a mischievous smile.
He studied the room thoughtfully for a moment, wanting to get it right. The wine cellar was tucked under the stairs that led down to the basement. The walls were dark. A hand rubbed cabinet dominated one wall. A rack of wine bottles sat opposite it. The floor consisted of sixteen, three-foot by four-foot, darkly streaked marble slabs, rough-hewn at the edges. Judging from the depth showing between them, they were four inches thick, the surface of each, mirror smooth. The image of the room in the polished floor seemed to radiate out from the marble rather than just being reflected by it.
She was standing near the door of the cellar admiring the room as if it were the first time she was seeing it, again.
He wanted her to know he was impressed. “It must have taken twelve strong men to carry these slabs down here. Where did you get this marble? It’s beautiful!” He had hoped she would be pleased that he figured it out.
Her smiled widened slightly. “It’s not marble,” she said. “It’s concrete.”
He laughed. “What? No. It can’t be. It’s marble!”
She smiled, entirely satisfied with herself. “No,” she said. “It’s concrete. I just made it look like marble.”
“How on earth did you do that?” He continued to study the marble, the floor, the entire room, unsure of what she was telling him.
“That’s what I do,” she said. “It’s called faux finish. Do you like it?”