Louise had just washed up all the dishes, which Jonas and Rateau had dried, and their fatigue felt good.
Later, in the middle of the night, in the bedroom, Louise, Rateau, and Jonas, who stood while the other two sat on a corner of the bed, were quiet. The children were sleeping, the dogs were at a kennel in
Rateau: Hire a housekeeper.
Louise: Where would we put her?
Rateau: Are you happy?
Jonas: Yes. Everyone is kind to me.
Rateau: No. Watch out. They’re not all good.
Your painter friends, for instance.
Jonas: I know. But many artists are like that. They’re not sure they exist, even the greatest. So they look for proof, they judge, they condemn. It bolsters them, it’s the beginning of existence. They’re so alone! Believe me, I know them. You have to love them.
Rateau: And what about you, do you exist, then? You never speak ill of anyone.
Jonas: Oh, I often think ill of them. Only then I forget.
Jonas: No, I’m not certain I exist. But one day I will, I’m sure of that.
Rateau asked Louise what she thought. She emerged from her fatigue to say that Jonas was right: their visitors’ opinions were not important. Only Jonas’s work mattered.
Jonas raised his eyes towards the starless sky and went to draw the curtains. Louise, clearly exhausted, declared that she was going to take her shower.
When the two friends were alone, Jonas felt Rateau’s shoulder touch his.
Jonas: I love to paint. I would like to paint all my life, day and night. Isn’t that lucky?
Rateau: Yes, it’s lucky.