I hope you are receiving these notes, and that they provoke a smile. Lord knows you seemed dour enough in our last few conversations–a smile would do you good.

This morning I was just heading out to the Musee de l’armee when a brisk knock sounded.

“I am Madame Durand, you will join me for tea,” said the neighbor, in that tone with which no one argues.

Tea consisted of a cup of overly sugared Earl Grey and questions. That is, she questioned me. I barely managed to answer one before she fired off the next. At a certain point Mme Durand seemed satisfied. She pointed at her door. “You will let yourself out, I am very old and my hip hurts,” she announced. Again, on the way out, I scrutinized the still life. I swear it is a genuine Cezanne! I will try to sneak a pix of it.

None the worse for the interrogation, I hiked to the museum to study WW1 & WW2–did you realize that De Gaulle recruited from the French African colonies for the Free French forces? Begins to make sense of the importance of the African theater, beyond natural resources, of course.

Back to writing until seven, and I was going to take myself to a brasserie around the corner for soup and people-watching when Jean-Sven knocked on the door. With him was a petite, exquisitely beautiful Asian woman, one of those flawless women you can’t believe exist outside of the nebulous world of film: all almond eyes and tiny carved features and silky skin. Her name is Veronique and she’s his girlfriend. They had wine with them and Jean-Sven claimed it was even better than the bottle from last night. He does have good taste and I figured they were people for watching, and anyway Jean-Sven was helping himself to the bottle opener and glasses before I could protest.

Jean-Sven, in case I didn’t mention, works at some kind of social media company, a start-up that he claims will supplant Facebook and Google, both together. At least he’s ambitious, right? He seems to be about forty and let slip that he’s already made a bundle on software. Veronique teaches exercise classes at a gym in the 8th arrondissement and also sings. They’re very entertaining, and Veronique gives a good shoulder massage.
I got them out just in time for my daily Skype session and reportage from my indefatigable research assistant. Tomorrow I’ll have to contrive to not be home to open the door at this time of day.
Meantime, just before leaving, I met someone I intuitively know is a friend of yours, but how do I ask–you or the other person–about that when you have been so starchy with me? You’re likely to deny it just to be contrary. I do pray that you will find your way to greater softness toward me. You know I think you are a lovely one, thorns and all.

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