“I am sure he felt like he had performed with valor, and
perhaps by his lights he had.”
Sam Thornton paused briefly before pulling the two hardcover books from their resting-place in the corner bookcase. The antique piece of furniture, chest high and located near the front window of his garret apartment, was reserved for his favorite volumes – ones that had made a lasting indention upon his heart and mind throughout the years, and earned the right to reside in such a public place. It was too humble to be called a library although the sagging shelves and irregularly stacked tenants did indicate ideas mattered, and reading was pursued. Varying in appearance and content, the books were timeless reminders of time and place, and he returned to them often. So he did today, unaware one of his selections held a disturbing surprise.
Sam had moved to Paris almost two years ago, luckily finding the simple five-floor walkup the first week. Once the home of servants, the small place stood atop a nineteenth century building located in the Marais Quarter of the city, at the west end of the block with a view of the river; number sixteen rue des Routiers to be exact. It was late October, and an early morning sun greeted him when he wandered out onto the rooftop terrace with his first coffee of the day.
He enjoyed Sunday mornings. Like most places Paris woke slowly on that day, and for a brief time struck the appropriate balance between quiet and movement; the restlessness and sounds subdued. The sun warmed his face as he stood by the terrace wall and looked out onto a city that made his heart race with wonder, possibility and expectation. He still could not believe he lived here.