The Frenchman

My mother was coming to New York to see the Frenchman who’d been in love with her for the past fifty years. They’d met in Paris when Mom was living there and working as a model. Now the Frenchman was flying in on business, and he’d asked Mom to come into the city for the weekend so that he could take her to lunch on Saturday after his affairs wrapped up, and also dinner that night. My wife and I were invited to the dinner. Mom said that she and the Frenchman were just friends, but my wife told me that was impossible. Men can’t be just friends with women, my wife said, especially not for half a century, unless they’ve been harboring some serious feelings. Besides, she added, your mother was a babe back in the day. It was an observation that always made me feel uncomfortable and proud at the same time.

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