It was a flash rain and we ducked into Le Select. The rain came down quick and fast and the servers tipped the chairs outside so the puddles wouldn’t collect. Water came down quick off the awning and it was quiet on the inside of the floor to ceiling glass. We sat down. I acted as if to warm my hands and she watched out the window.
“It’s drenched out there,” she said, and that was it.
Once upon a time, we would forget to pick what we wanted we had that much to say. They’d bring us the menus and we’d talk over them opened.
“Have you decided yet?” the server would ask.
“Oh, no. One more minute,” and we’d do our best to concentrate on the small print.
Come to think of it now, I don’t think that’s actually true. We never had much to say.
“So, how’s the States?” I asked.
“Oh, you know,” she said.
“Yeah. I guess.”
The server brought water and I poured. She swirled hers like wine and rearranged her silverware straight. She glanced at mine, crooked, then at me. I did nothing. She watched outside someone parallel parking a Smart car unsuccessfully .
I felt the cold coming off the window.
“What are you getting?” I asked.
“A salad,” she said.
“Yeah. Those looked good.”
She traced her finger over the rim of her glass. I thought of asking for a lemon wedge for her. She likes lemon wedges. I didn’t ask.
“Do you like it here?” she asked.
“This café or Paris in general?”
She looked at me incrediously. It was familiar.
“Paris is always Paris and is bound to be,” I said. ”It’s a beautiful city.”
The waiter took our order. I got a salad. She got the chicken.
A man in the phone-booth just outside yelled, smashed the receiver down, kicked the wall and walked away in a huff. We both watched.
“What?” she said, after a pause.
“I thought you said something.”
The server brought our food, left the check on the table.
“Those salads do look good,” she said.