Saturday, September 26, 2009

The French Connection

She was dressed in French couture, wearing Italian shoes and having dinner with an old friend at a chic little restaurant. They spoke in English but as the tears welled from her eyes, the conversation flowed into German. He patted her hand and anyone should have seen, that the old gentleman shared her pain and wished with all his heart that he could banish it. They were abruptly interrupted by the waiter who appeared uneasy but obliged to deliver a complimentary glass of French wine "from a determined admirer." She scanned the room but no eyes met hers. She thanked the waiter and continued the conversation with her friend, ignoring the glass of wine.

The waiter again approached their table, "Madame, there is an urgent phone call for the kitchen." Being curious, she followed the waiter. The noisy kitchen grew silent as she put the receiver to her ear. The stranger on the line was a Frenchman who said he was Michel. She asked how he knew to call her at the restaurant. "I am a chef, so I know the telephone numbers to all the best kitchens. I saw you from across the room and had to speak to you alone."

"Well, I'm hardly alone," she said, as she felt all the ears in the kitchen listening. "But thank you for the wine...are you still there?" Then she turned to see the French Chef walking toward her as the kitchen staff broke into cheers.

She was so impressed with Michel's resourcefulness that she agreed to dinner later that week, but only if he would send her waiting friend a glass of German wine.

She and the Chef had a brief affair which she ended, as it became painfully evident that he was actually in search of a rich woman to finance a restaurant. And she was not fond of his long-time companion, a rather vicious parrot that had traveled the world with him.

Then there was also the fact that Michel never seemed to have noticed that she had been crying when he first saw her from across the restaurant. So, she never told him that her husband had just called that morning to say that he was divorcing her...that he had to go
find himself. (She had calmly told him that she didn't think it was worth the search, then hung up.) But Michel's most flagrant faux pas, the night they met, was his total disregard for her German friend. For that insensitivity, which she considered a character flaw, she could not forgive him.

So now it was
au revoir to

But that was not the last she was to hear of the Chef. Fast forward a few years, to another restaurant where she was having dinner with a new husband and his son's mother- in-law, Jessica. After just enough French wine, Jessica began telling a story about a wonderful affair with a French Chef who had a parrot.

"Was the chef's name Michel?"

"Well, I'm sure there are a lot of French chefs with the name

"With a parrot?"


She began to laugh, "Jessica, what a delicious coincidence! We had an affair with the same man at the same time. Did he call you on the kitchen phone after sending over a glass of wine?"

Wanting desperately to change the subject, Jessica shouted for the waiter to bring more wine.

"But not French!"

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