Moonlight Declaration

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The first day, Achille wrote his love on blue paper which he folded over and over with care. A beautiful aeroplane with a pointed nose like the ones that sometimes made colored patterns in the sky. Perched on his little balcony, he threw the aeroplane towards the window opposite, the one with the red shutters, the one where Lisa lived. But at the last moment, a playful gust of wind made it swerve to the right and the aeroplane slid into the apartment of Mr Zou, a grumpy man with a paunch. When he read the sweet nothings he went red with anger, and shook his fist at the window, not at all appreciating this bad taste joke.

The second day, Achille wrote his love on fuchsia-coloured paper. He entrusted his message to the carrier pigeon he had bought that morning in the flea market. The pigeon took off, but a seagull caught his eye. With his heart beating fit to burst, the pigeon forgot his errand and followed the beautiful creature all dolled up in her Sunday best.

The third day, Achille realized in despair that he had run out of both ink and paper. He scratched his head and an idea came to him. He waited for nightfall, then, with the help of a ladder, climbed up onto the roof. From his shoulder bag he took out his trumpet. He rolled an imaginary thread down from the roof to the red shutters so that the notes did not get lost on the way then blew all his love to the beautiful Lisa. But it all went wrong. Some notes took fright at the drop and refused to go any further; others, in their haste to get there, gave them a push. The notes clashed together and a monstrous din rose up into the air. In answer to this racket, jangling with wrong notes, sudden surges and errors, the neighbors came to the windows, shouting insults which echoed noisily around the walls of the buildings. Cats and dogs, their fur standing on end, yapped and caterwauled. Achille put his fingers in his ears and started to cry. The shameful notes grew silent, the angry neighbors slunk away indoors. After some confabulation, the do came to see Achille and asked him to start his piece again. So Achille began to play once more. The shamefaced notes slid timidly down the thread. Then, their enthusiasm growing, they became more confident, some entwined with others, some playing a solo. The frenetic jazz sounds swelled and took over the space, and the beautiful Lisa appeared, with a guitar around her neck. The gleaming instrument echoed her emotion and the chastened neighbors opened their windows again. Suddenly caught in the groove, clicking their fingers, they began to dance while Achille and Lisa, wreathed in smiles, exchanged their secrets.

Translated by Wendy Cross


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