“Can I join you?” he asked, standing with coffee in one hand and a gigantic cookie in the other. “All the tables are full.”
She looked around, and saw that he was right. “Sure.”
“Is that your breakfast?”
“No. I already had breakfast, this is a snack.”
“I see,” she said, smiling.
“Why do you think so many marriages fail?” he asked, breaking his cookie in half and pushing the plate toward her.
“People stop saying please and thank you.”
“That’s a good point,” he said, nodding. “I never thought of that, but I think manners might be at the root of things. People start taking each other for granted and stop being polite.”
“It makes a difference.”
“Why? Did your marriage fail?”
“Never had one. How about you?”
“No. Never even came close.
“Why not? I can’t imagine you haven been asked more than once.”
She shrugged. “Never met anyone who made me feel…the magic,” she laughed. “I know that sounds silly, but mundane isn’t what I’m looking for. How did you stay unattached this long?”
“Same thing, actually. And I don’t think it’s silly, I think it matters.”
“The cookie’s good,” she said. “Thank you.”
“My pleasure, after all, you did let me sit at your table. How do you like that book? Have you ever been to Shakespeare and Company?”
“Yes, a couple of times, but the new one is just a wonderful copy. Still, tradition is tradition. One can’t go to Paris and not go to Shakespeare and Company.”
“So, you’ve been there too?”
“Yes, many times. I’m often forced to go to Paris for work,” he laughed.
“Sounds like the perfect job. The only thing better would be to live there.”
“I’m thinking about it,” he said. “I’m tired of flying back and forth. As a matter of fact, I’m going next week. I thought I’d look for something to buy. Our company has an apartment I stay in when I go, but I’d like a place of my own. If you’re up for it, why don’t you come with me, that way, you can help me look, and we can go to the bookstore together.”
“It’ll be fun and it won’t cost anything, since we’ll use the company jet.”
“It’s a big apartment, well it is for Paris, and there are two bedrooms. If you’d rather stay in a hotel, I can arrange it. I may have to stop in Venice on the way home, if that’s okay.”
“What is it that you do?”
“I’m a photographer. What do you do?”
“I’m a free-lance artist. I work with a lot of think-tanks.”
“Perfect. So, will you join me?”
“Do you feel the magic?”
“So do I,” he said. “So do I.”