My apartment isn’t much. In fact, according to Odette and her father, the rats in their sewers even pity me. But it’s my Babe, it’ll do for me. Besides, no one has a better view than I do from my one-room flat. The Eiffel Tower watches me sleep and the River Seine smiles at me every time I glance over Paris. And best of all, I can see Fleur’s Café at night in all its simple brilliance. During the day Odette’s mansion casts a shadow over Fleur’s that darkens the faces of the customers and stifles the glint of the tea cups. Inside my apartment I have a tattered velvet sofa, a gift from Odette’s father. I have it pushed up against the window so I can listen to the lullabies the Parisian stars and streets sing at night, and I keep the window cracked open so the candied floral scent can squeeze into my room and dance around my nose. The walls are all red brick, except for the spot where Max punched a hole in drunken stupor. Or maybe it wasn’t in drunken stupor. Maybe just stupor, or drunken. I have a petite refrigerator stashed in the corner next to a petite wooden table and an even petiter wooden stool. A green mottled curtain separates the kitchen/livingroom/bedroom from my luxurious washroom. I have a fancy velour wash cloth that I stole from Odette’s mansion when I first moved in. Aside from a single free-hanging light bulb over my kitchen table, the only other light inside my apartment pervaded from the glow of the television, which I always had set to French soap operas on channel 2. But Paris provided the rest of the light for me. The city lights shined through my windows and ran about the creaky wooden floors and crumbly brick walls like school children frolicking on a grassy field, and diffused a warming radiance throughout like a kiss from heaven.
You must be wondering why I don’t live with Odette in her fancy mansion. Well, according to her old man, I have yet to “earn” my way into the chateau. He hasn’t told me how, but I assume I would have to either throw a man off the Tower of London or slap a baby across the face. Besides, I would not trade my apartment for all the diamonds that cold iron-gate protected, even if I slapped a baby across the face.