« Dite-moi tout » (“Tell me everything”) he said as he reached me, invading my personal space inside the cramped market tent. Startled, I looked up into the inquiring caramel eyes of the salesman. For the split second in which a parallel universe opened up, I answered:
“What do you want to know? Where do I start? Do you really want to know what I want, what I need, what I feel? Please, look at me again, truly, and repeat “dite-moi tout” and allow me to dream that, yes, you do want to hear the song, the stories, the grief, the sighs, all tucked away so carefully over a lifetime as well as the hope that will not die.”
But instead, I heard myself ask: “Do you have this in my size? How much is it?” He towered over me, assessed me, focused on the sale.
“This is your size, madame, no worries… The color is perfect with your hair… There is this model too, a lighter shade of gray”. I stroked the sweater, the new offering. “It is beautiful… try it on” he said gently while taking the soft sweater off the hanger and inviting me to step into it. Like a lamb led to slaughter, I did.
“Beautiful… It’s mohair, madame, Italian manufacture… Here, take a look in the mirror.”
Unwilling to shatter my delusion with a reality check and consequently be jarred unmercifully by self-awareness, I refused wordlessly and heard “I believe you” come out of my mouth, as I looked into the caramel eyes. Then self-conscious, I immediately blurted “Do you have it in blue?”
“Not in this model… How about brown?.. Although I do think these colors are perfect for you.” He replied in a thoughtful sort of way, keeping his gaze on me, letting the silence linger to the edge of discomfort. But he did not move away.
“I’ll take them both.”
“That will be eighty euros, madame.”
“I suppose this will have to be my indulgence for the month” I said sheepishly as I paid.
“Or the treat of the season, madame… Sometimes all you need is a little “fantaisie”* to make you feel special.” He smiled as he handed me the purchases, then he proceeded to move towards another customer almost before I could thank him.
As I was stepping away from the tent I heard him say: “Dite-moi tout.”
* A fantasy, impulse buy or whim. Something unnecessary and possibly impractical.