The Play of the Mind

At the turn of the 19th century, on a night of play, trick and sneaky deceit, a middle-aged widow realized, among thick curtains and velvet-lined seats, that love really is ‘an illness to which man is prone at any age’.

Behold, a short essay inspired by Histoires de Parfums 1725.  Originally seen in The Greatest Magazine.

As I took my seat in the gas-lit gallery of a dusty, absinth-smelling theatre, my cheeks became flushed. To this day, it’s hard for me to describe how I felt in that very moment. It was just as if the people around me – blind, for the most part – could see into my soul, stripping me down and, eventually, laying my secret bare. After all, I should’ve known that no mask, rouge or costume would’ve been able to spare me from being judged, pointed at and exposed by a crowd that resembled the subject of a Kirchner painting. As soon as the show begun, I sank into my licorice black gown, relying on the familiar scent of lavender in which it had been soaked to comfort me. For the tenth night in a row, I held my breath and just forced myself to wait for the moment when a Casanova in the making would’ve sneaked in and corrupted my endangered morality, giving such a ruthless man the chance to write my name in the diary of his conquests. All of a sudden the show reached an emotional peak, and I closed my deep amber eyes, I aligned my breath with the unsteady evolution of the baritone’s voice on the musical score and fiercely dug my nails in the velvet-lined theatre seat. Then my Casanova finally made his entrance and filled that confined space with his bittersweet presence, but when I opened my eyes to meet his gaze, I realized there was no one to be seen. In a house of play or, as you might say, deceit, my own mind had tricked me, making me long for a semblance of love.

Histoires de Parfums 1725

Histoires de Parfums 1725

Histoires de Parfums 1725

Histoires de Parfums 1725
Histoires de Parfums 1725
Histoires de Parfums 1725

 Histoires de Parfums 1725

Histoires de Parfums 1725 

Art Direction and Still Life Photo by Sara Ferraris
Text by Marco Martello
Photo by Tom J. Johnson
Model-Dancer Téo Dubreuil
Featured in The Greatest Magazine


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published