THE TWO FIGURINES

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THE TWO FIGURINES

Dearest Alysa,

      I am sorry I haven’t written since beaucoup trop long.  It is so weird that we come to Paris together and then we end up seeing each other less than when we were at State.

      I’m at Les Deux Magots right now.  Remember our waiter Henri whom we nicknamed Ennui?  Yes, he’s still here and he’s my waiter.  I guess he embodies what all the tourists expect from a French waiter.  Pee Ess: I ordered the Sandwich saumon fumé de Norvège.  Remember?  LOL (Lox of Love?).

      You won’t believe this!  Remember Alex, our Teaching Assistant in Marine Biology lab?  Well, he’s in Paris and I just “ran into him” here.  It was so weird.  What’s it been?  10 years?

      I looked up to see him standing right by my table and he was holding 2 glasses of wine.  I couldn’t believe it.  You can imagine my expression I’m sure (Like GAAAH).  I still have such mixed feelings about him.  He told me how he found me by reading YOUR blog and how he hoped I didn’t mind.  Pee Ess: Can you say “stalker”?

      So he asks me if I still like Cabernet Sauvignon and he sits down.  He was smartly dressed.  I asked him what he was doing in Paris and he jokes that he was looking for me, only I don’t think he was joking.  You know how he always expected more from my friendship.  I mean, sure he and I had some kind of intellectual connection, and we had some fun (he WAS a good listener), but I was engaged and I just couldn’t feel anything else, any chemistry (or even biology).  How many times did you and I talk about him?  You remember how he was, right?  Remember how he was always giving me “innocent” little gifts that he thought I’d like?  You even said once that Paul was going to punch him out some day.

      I never told you that Alex said he loved me.  That’s right.  You used to wonder why I was so “chaotic and twirly” about him.  Well, that’s why.  He said he loved me, many times.  I kept telling him I cared for him as a friend but I was engaged and the wedding was soon and if he couldn’t accept that then I would be sorry.  Why couldn’t he understand that?  I KNOW I’m not that irresistible (Remember: I can hear you laughing).  You know all of my dark sides.

      He’s newly divorced.  When I asked him what happened, he joked that it was my fault, but I don’t think he was joking.  He was nervous about something and he kept scratching at his forehead until it started to bleed.  Luckily I had a little medical tape.  We laughed about that.

      I didn’t tell him I was divorced.  And he never asked about Paul.  He must have figured it out from your blog.

      It was like a Camus novel.  He sat there talking more than I ever heard him talk at one time (you noticed yourself how he was a “listener” not a “talker”), talking like he was afraid to stop, afraid of what I would say if he paused, and it all sounded like he was looking for some meaning in his life (capital “M”).  He even told me he knew why people died (“To limit the suffering they feel and to limit the suffering they cause”).  That freaked me out a little, but he just seemed tired and sad.  Then we just sat there looking at each other like two figurines in a novelty shop.

      Suddenly it was like he was hypnotized or something.  He reached over and picked up my lipstick-stained wine glass and he downed it.  Then he downed his.  He stood up hugging both wine glasses to his chest and winked and said he would keep them as a mémento of Paris.  He made a joke (“We’ll always have Paris”) and it’s like he floated away toward the Metro.

      Well, you can go back to eating cookies in the buff.  I’m going for a long walk.  Hope I see you soon.

Yours always, love Katka

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