Anne Rabe – Carp River Peony (SOLD)


Initiator Artist: Anne Rabe
Artwork Title: Carp River Peony
Medium: Photography
Price: $175

Responder Author: Stephanie Denman
Writing Title: The Pink Party
Size: 11″x17″
Price: NFS


“It’s a Pink Party,” my Parisian friend Sabine said. “Just wear something pink.” 

I rummage through my armoire looking for something suitable. Midnight black, off black, charcoal. My wardrobe is as monochromatic as a Parisian winter. Finally, I locate a magenta blouse which I douse with a flowery perfume, shimmy into black jeans and head out.

“Entrez,” Isabelle, the hostess, greets me at the door of the apartment she shares with Sabine and another roommate. She’s wearing a chic fuschia skirt and blouse. I hand her a bouquet of radishes and she sweeps an arm toward the inside of the apartment like a game show hostess. 

It’s a pink paradise. Sheer panels of frothy, cotton-candy-colored organza frame the entrance to the dining room where Edith Piaf warbles “La Vie en Rose,” from a tiny Bose speaker. Hot pink peonies and rouge roses burst from the buffet table. A river of cherries and ruby red strawberries flows around the mini flower market alongside assiettes of  prawns, trays of smoked ham, salami, tarama and cherry tomatoes. I nibble a spicy chunk of Chorizo and spot Sabine in the living room. She breaks away from a conversation and strides toward me, arms outstretched.

“Bonsoir,” we kiss each other’s cheeks and turn to face the room. 

Everyone is wearing black. Of course. Parisians don’t go out in color at night. 

Only one person looks our way. It’s the guy Sabine was talking to. He’s wearing a black leather jacket, but I can see a coral-colored shirt lapping at the collar. An ally? Sabine leads me to him.

“This is John,” she says. “He’s American, too.”

“Hello,” he says genially, shaking my hand. He has a cute, approachable face, like Carol Burnett and John Cleese combined. There’s something soothing and familiar in his voice and eyes.  Sabine plops down next to him and they pick up where they left off. Just my luck.

I  meander into the hazy room next door where a group huddles puffing Gitane cigarettes, like a cluster of black smokestacks. One of the smokers looks my way but since you have to be introduced at French parties, there’s no way he’ll integrate me into the pack. Wandering alone, I look for offshoots who might dare to talk to this stranger.  

 The night goes on and John and I are reintroduced. The only Americans. The only ones in pink. We chat, separate and meet again at the bar. It feels like a relationship is budding until I ask him how he knows the hostess.  

“Um, one of her roommates was a friend of my wife’s.” He squirms. 

“Was? Did she pass away? 

“Die? No, no. She’s not dead. We’re separated. It’s complicated.” Crap. Wilting, I down my entire glass of wine.

“Ready?” my father nudges me. The Mariachi trio strikes up “Moon River.” I breathe in my bouquet of peonies, and start down the aisle, three years later, to John, wearing a black tux and a pink bowtie. 


Copyright © 2024 by Stephanie Denman

Out of stock