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the dishes he cooked. The place where he read while Píulix

climbed on top of him or counted his ribs, the place where

the two of them listened to

Peter and the Wolf

on winter

nights. The place where on Wednesday our daughter

scratched out her first notes on the violin and he was

moved—recently he was easily moved by things related to

her or to me. The same place where two weeks ago I, who

never put on my music, dared to play Charles Trenet while

he was in the kitchen cooking


(hake cheeks) and

he suddenly appeared when he heard

“Que reste-t-il de nos


wanting to dance the last part with me as he

whistled the tune. It was unusual for him, and yet, at the

same time, it was one of those amorous outbursts that

could only have come from him, for just imagine—if I’d

been the one to request the dance, one burned


would have sufficed for all hell to break loose! No, no . . .

you couldn’t play around with these things, especially if he

was in the kitchen or if there was music involved.

In any case, the living room was very much his space. And

now the objects in it are challenging us: “Place me in the

present, make me useful, give me a purpose!” We lost the

living room in my home when my father died. It was almost

as if it had been closed off. After that it was always lifeless.

Of course, I belong to that generation where parents didn’t

let children set foot in the room. The living room was

sacrosanct and immaculate, a place for entertaining that

resembled a model room in a show house or a furniture

store, one that children weren’t allowed to contaminate