There was a long queue and there were certainly 20 more people before Veronica could reach the ticket counter. She saw the bald man who was getting cranky and could hardly wait for his break. It took few more minutes and the bald man finally slapped her a ticket. She ignored his rudeness and just walked over to choose a bicycle and there it was, an over-used black cycle. She grabbed the handle but felt a shake from behind.
‘Bonjour’ ! he greeted her with a perfect French accent. That extremely charming face did not impress her, she chose not to answer back. She inserted the key and rode away.
Veronica stopped before Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. She was mesmerized by the architectural brilliance. She fell for it even before she had taken a tour of the inside. Her eyes met a treat as she walked in, so much that she could not describe nor marvel the beauty of it beyond a point.She could not decide what to memorize as every inch of the interior was breathtaking. By noon she finally realized how famished she was and decided to binge on local delicacies in a cute cafe across the street. She had a satisfactory lunch and washed down her grub with a glass of red wine. Although the wine did not make her feel tipsy, she deserted her bike and decided to take a walk.
She strolled down a narrow lane..At first she thought it was just one house but then she noticed the similarity. It was the painters’ lane. Every house had its owners touch to it. She walked into the small gate and came to a halt.
She saw a man painting so effortlessly seated on a high-stool and his back to her. Every stroke seemed so bold and fearless. She was bemused ! She was tempted to enter the patio instead lost herself staring at the painting. He suddenly turned back, she blurted out a hello and saw that familiar smile spread out. She felt embarrassed and utterly failed to say something sensible to explain her presence there.
He walked up to her and invited her to come inside. She almost said no but a second thought led her to a magical space. Every painting in the room virtually spoke to her and she could not hold back her compliments.
He offered to paint her on the canvas and she felt delightful and instantly agreed to it. Two hours later she saw herself on the canvas like never before. She had never realized how pretty she was until this moment. She thanked him and got ready to leave.But he persuaded her for dinner cooked by him. She confessed to him that she could not decide which part of the day was the most favorite after the meal.
The next morning, it was already time to leave city. She reached the airport an hour early. She killed time visiting various duty-free stores and picking up goodies for family and friends back home. The final boarding call was announced, as she was proceeding towards the gate she heard her name and she knew it was not the airport authorities.She looked behind and there he stood with the painting in one hand and a single lily in the other. He bid her goodbye.
Back home she was looking at the painting, she found a small sign on the right bottom corner and only then she got to know his name. As she was hanging the painting an envelope fell on the ground. She ripped it open to find a picture of hers riding the cycle. She turned it around expectantly for a message and there it was…..