Interview with Gastien Beauchamp from Gastien Part One: The Cost of the Dream by Caddy Rowland
I closed my eyes and took the herb. The old herbalist I had recently met had promised me that if I recited a special chant and then took this herb, I would be transported back into late nineteenth century Paris, where I could actually meet and interview the main character of my novel (Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream)-Gastien Beauchamp.
I had recited the crazy rhyme and swallowed the herb. Nothing. I closed my eyes in disappointment. Imagine my surprise when I opened them only to find that I was sitting in Le Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris! Not only that, I was definitely dressed wrong. It was the nineteenth century! Before I could panic, the front doors opened.
Oh! My! God! It was Gastien-and his looks were far more stunning that my vivid imagination could have ever comprehended. As I stared, practically drooling, his eyes met mine and lit up. With a wink, he smiled sexily at me as he sauntered over to my table.
“Chèri,” he said quietly as he sat, “I understand that you wanted to talk to me. How can I help you today?”
Quickly I gathered my wits. “Gastien, merci for coming on such short notice. I wonder…do you know that I am from the twenty-first century? I have written a book about you!” I was sure he would think I was loony.
He raised his brows and looked at me harder. “Hmm, well the clothes are certainly different. Even I have not yet come up with an outfit like that! Oui, I suppose it is possible. As a painter of energy, I believe anything is possible! I have seen things others can’t even dream of.” He ordered absinthe. “A book about me? Really? Did I become famous before I died?” he asked eagerly.
“Gastien, I don’t want to tell you how your life turns out. That would ruin the fun of living!” I explained. “Still, I would like to ask you about your passions: Women and Art. I want to make sure I tell it right.”
He threw his head back and laughed. “Well, you certainly do know me, chèri. I love making love to women, and I love making love to the color even more. If you show them that, you will have stayed true to my soul.” He took a drink. “I simply live to paint. That is why I am here, it is my destiny. I am, as you probably know, on my way to Montmartre, to my own studio. I can’t wait to move in!”
“Ah. So you have just returned from your little retreat, then?” I asked.
“Oui. It did me a world of good. But, you must come to Montmartre sometime and allow me to paint you! I prefer painting color, movement and energy; but I am a gifted portrait painter as well. It is how I earn my money to party and eat in restaurants-but you know that.”
I nodded. Gathering courage, I decided to ask him about the one incident that may end the interview. I should have known better; however, I plunged ahead.
“Gastien, what can you tell me about that night?”
He immediately stiffened. “What night, chèri?” His voice had changed, he was guarded and tense.
“You know which night, Gastien,” I whispered.
“I don’t talk about it,” he said firmly.
“But, I need to know-“
“I SAID NON,” he interrupted, eyes like flint.
“Gastien, come on, I know you better than anyone!” I pleaded.
He downed his absinthe and pushed his chair back roughly. “I am sorry, chèri, but you have overstepped your boundaries. End of subject.” He stood, tears in his eyes, flushed scarlet with anger. “Go back home! Or go find someone else to talk to. I am leaving now, to make love to the color. The color, unlike people, never tricks me. Bonsoir.”
As he turned and walked away, I called out, “Gastien, I am sorry! Please, come back and sit down!”
He turned back to me and said, “Non. I just can’t. Please understand.” When he got to the doorway, he looked back one last time. He tipped his head, once again gracing me with a smile. “Simply tell them this: It is all about the color.”