Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Café con leche

The other day, I dropped off my invoice at the subtitling studio and headed around the corner for a coffee.

Coffee here almost always comes with a small glass of sparkling water and a tiny cookie or two -- a sort of coffee tapa. This time my café con leche came with two madeleines.

I sat at a sidewalk table across from a well-dressed young woman who was reading a fashion magazine and texting on her cell phone. Her coffee was finished but she had left a madeleine on the plate.

I was reading a magazine of my own. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an old man shuffle up to her table. His pants were worn and he was gaunt.

I put my magazine down. He started to speak to the woman. I couldn't hear what they were saying. She apparently couldn't hear him either, because she said something and then he leaned in even closer to her when he spoke again.

When he finished speaking, she quickly bobbed her head and then said, "No, no problem at all. Of course not. Please."

Had he asked her for money? That didn't seem right. She hadn't gone for her purse.

As he slowly walked away, he opened his hand and popped a madeleine in his mouth. And we both went back to reading our magazines.

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