There is a photograph, which has continued to haunt me for years : a photograph taken somewhere in Paris, of four men, none of whose faces are visible, and even though I am sure you are not one of them, on some days I am uncertain, my dear. Have I told you how at midnight, sometimes, in that time where everything seems possible, I have a hazy, almost transparent memory of the night when, after reading Cavafy – I’d wanted to read Mir – we’d slept in the arms of an astrolabe, hidden by the lianas : and on that night we didn’t measure anything, it was the stars who measured their distance from us. In the morning, with the little money I had, I’d bought a loose lapis lazuli, the one that most resembled the previous night’s sky – there are many jewellery shops outside, do you remember?

But, my dear, the memory fades with each minute and now I don’t know if any of this happened, if I didn’t imagine all of this, if you aren’t just a dream : because, surely, if you were real, surely, we would have met the last time I was in Paris, I would surely have ordered a glass of Shiraz like I always do when I’m with you, surely you would have commented on the diamond on my pierced nose, and after my return, surely I wouldn’t have said to my mother that I would never return to France. And yet, I don’t know why, on some other nights, I have a dream where Vermeer is grinding my lapis lazuli, making our night sky disappear forever into his famous ultramarine. My dear, I wake up frightened.

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