ML met the old man again, the old man whose eyelids were so ancient they were translucent and veined and dusty, but in whom she had seen the young man flitting in and out. A few months ago, she had wanted to go home with him to his apartment overlooking the Butte Chaumont.
This time, when she met him and said how are you? , he said, “Very good when I look at you, such beauty”
They flirt, my friend and this old man who is almost half a century older than her.
She asks if his wife is beautiful. He says yes, but she left me 12 years ago.
Do you miss her?
No, it is better this way. But he misses having a woman lying next to him, misses caressing a woman.
They talk about French policier books.
She says she reads like an ass in French.
He suggests that perhaps they can read together in cafés and he could help her.
And he wistfully mumbles that perhaps one day she would allow him to caress her?
She gets embarrassed, hesitates.
He then adds sadly, it’s because I am much, much older than you, isn’t it?
No, no, she explains, if I were not with another person right now, I would go with you.
But it is too late. The young man disappears from the old man. His breath withdraws into the wisp of his 87 years lived.