The guy I described in The Croissant Fairy has continued to sleep in the little triangle of walkway formed at the junction of rue Guénégaud and Quai de Conti.
That junction juts out a little into the thoroughfare of whatever the speedway is called that flanks the Seine.
I have seen him there numerous times at various times of day, mostly late in the afternoon.
He is always –when I see him - lying in the triangle, asleep.
In passing I have wondered if he sleeps there in the rain.
I had not – until today - been at that place in the rain, so I didn’t know the answer to that wondering.
This afternoon I was going to Le Départ Saint-Michel for some onion soup and some wine.
I got to that little triangle and he was there.
He was perfectly centered in the little triangle.
It was raining.
So question of whether he slept there in the rain became answered at that point.
For some reason – I would normally have looked away; I am prone to avoid seeing hopelessness if I can possibly do so – I scrutinized his situation with an attempt to absorb the details.
One thing stood out as if it were the only color element of a black and white photograph.
Lying on the tarmac at the small of his back (he was lying on his side) was an apple. It was iridescently green. It was probably a Granny Smith.
I had a great repast at Le Départ.
The repast and the people I photographed from my table caused me to forget anything about the walk that had gotten me to my table. So when I wended my way back to my apartment the only thing on my mind was how beautiful the Seine is even on darkly descending days of clouds.
I had just crossed rue de Nevers and was in the triangle.
That is a retrofitted fact.
I was just walking happily home.
But, out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse.
I glanced to the left and then looked straight ahead. I apparently had to process in my brain-computer the image that my eyes had gathered.
Instants, of course, are all that are needed for such processing.
So, an instant later I looked back.
He – the sleeper from the triangle – was sitting in a stairway alcove with what looked to be a large box of bon bons.
The box was open and I could see the contents.
They looked to be from an upscale Paris chocolatier.
The bon bons were only minimally gone. There were probably seventy five percent of them left.
He looked at me.
I looked at him.
There was no communication.
His eyes were Little Orphan Annie Eyes.
And there was a dry space approximating a human form with rain on the rest of the tarmac where he had been lying asleep when I had passed two hours earlier.
If one had seen the 1950’s version of War of the Worlds one might have shuddered.