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  • We have coffee. Well, I have coffee, and a fougasse, while she has tea and an elephant ear. We take photos of one another; I make comments about my weight, how I look round in the face.

    A pigeon jumps on a table nearby, scavenging crumbs from a pastry. People take pictures with nice cameras, as though this was the rarest pigeon on earth.

    We are about to leave, or rather, she is, and notes that I don't get up.

    “Aren't you going to sit on the steps?” she asks, meaning the steps of the cathedral.

    “I think the couple behind us is about to break up,” I tell her.

    So we stay. We listen, we busy ourselves trying to appear busy. I ask her what she thinks. At first, she isn't convinced; then she sees him fidgeting; then they are embracing, and she makes a sad face at me.

    She takes a picture of him, pretending to take a picture of me. I try to see them through the reflection of her sunglasses. We try not to giggle, aware that we're trespassing on someone else's sadness.

    Then we stop feeling silly; I think about how his night is ruined. Hers, too, maybe, but definitely his.

    We're both pouting at each other, saying, “I feel so badly,” and each make a comment about how we should take him out for a drink, knowing that we won't.

    They detach, and the woman says, “OK, whew.” She had been the only one speaking, and now says, rapidly, “OK, you, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.”

    He starts.

    I say, “Well, that was cathartic.”

    Later, I say, “They're so calm.”

    She says, “I know – I even think she's smiling.”
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