They were so tired that rather than stepping into the church, they sat on the edge of the fountain on the place Saint-Sulpice. Their voices mixed with the water gushing from the mouths of the four lions. She craned forward to admire the awkward façade of the building. Why was a tower left unfinished? And those two decks of ponderous colonnades! She read in her guide that this was the second tallest church in Paris. Her feet were aching. They had been walking all day. She bent slightly forward and crossed the right leg reaching out with a sign of irritation to her sore foot.
He stopped taking photos and turning to her, gave her a kiss and a smile. “Let us go inside”. It was almost six o’clock and as they entered the monumental space they felt their own smallness. The waning light and the echoes of other voices aroused in them a mixture of awe and edginess.
Their steps took them, as if piloted by a mysterious hand, to “La Chapelle des Anges”. He had read about the canvas presiding over this chapel, “The Fight with the Angel”, one of the last works of Delacroix. He first realized that he was in front of an astonishing painting: the artist had succeeded in translating into form a mystery that was speaking to him and perhaps spoke to others. Within seconds, he noticed that what he was looking at was taking control of him. Had he been singled out by the painting to hear a message? He was trembling. Emotion overwhelmed him. He felt in touch with a part of him until then ignored. Who was the angel? Why was he fighting with Jacob? Why was he hypnotized? What was going on? He could not pull himself away as the force of the images was making its way through his consciousness.
Later at the hotel, he stared at the ceiling in silence as he lay in bed. He still was trying to figure out what happened. She said: “you looked so startled in front of the Delacroix, as if you’d had a vision”. He gave her a wistful glance and said: “We came to Paris for a holiday and today in Saint-Sulpice that painting troubled me, I did not recognize myself looking at it”. She tenderly held his limp body in her arms. “Tomorrow will be another day”, she said and proceeded to remind him of the places they were planning to visit.