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Giovanni's Room - Giovanni

Giovanni, Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

The door opens away from the room and forms a little enclosed space towards the wall. Camille enters energetically, a bag in one hand and the phone pushed onto her ear by the other. Not looking back, with her left foot she pushes the door back into the frame. After a few steps forward she drops her bag and leans against the wall, listening to the phone.

«Please let me speak to Mr. Lang! I have to know what‘s going on», she says after a moment.

She walks straight to the little seating bench before her, slips out of her shoes and sits down. There‘s just enough space for her to sit sideways and put her feet up. The thickness of the wall provides her with back support.

«I have a right to know what happened!»

No answer.

With a disappointed look she puts the phone on the floor, next to her shoes.

She turns her head for a second, to the entrance door, but immediately turns back and looks around in the large hall. Gazing through it, visibly nervous, the multitude of elements attract her eyes and keep them shifting between one and an other.

She tries to get more comfortable, moves, finally gets up and walks around the open corner of the room, briefly looks down the stairs but takes the narrow ramp in a destined manner. Her hand holds on to the brass railing and guides her with a slight curvature to the corner of the gallery. She turns left and looks for her note book. It‘s on the small table, a pen attached to it. A large window embracing her on three sides, she sits down and opens the book. A few words are written but crossed out again. More words. Crossed out.

For a moment, she rests still and doesn‘t move. Then walks towards the other side of the space and into the slit where two white bulky walls bend in from the hall. They have a continuous but structured surface. Leaning on to the curvature,  she seems to stand right on the threshold between these two spaces, and yet in neither of them. Her very own body forms their division and closes them.

A flashback shows men in suits and women in dresses dancing to live music seen from that balcony. Paul approaches Camille and kisses her. A man from down below looks up and screams: «To the bridal pair!» All the guests turn their heads and lift their glasses festively. «To Camille and Paul!»

An undecisive smile crosses Camille‘s face. Looking down, she takes the door to her left, enters a  intense room covered in textiles and walks down the staircase to her right. It is a narrow space, carved into the wall, winding down into a niche below, attached to the main hall but surrounded by dark surfaces and thus seems to be distant from the hall. She takes a seat and looks at the remaining ash in the fireplace. The ceiling is low and the floor is a little higher than that of the hall. She feels comfortable here and pulls a blanket over her knees.

Just when she had found a moment of rest, she can hear her phone ring. She looks up to the little balcony with her eyes wide open. It is so close and yet the way is quite a far one. She hesitates for a second, puts the blanket aside and rushes diagonally across the hall. Again a brass railing leads her few steps up and she comes through a door into the entry hall, it is the one that had seemed like an abstract painting hanging on the wall before. The phone is still ringing, but in the same instant she wants to reach for it the door opens an Paul enters the room.