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Hédiard, the gourmet shop, beckoned from across the street. I splurged on a tranche of pâté de foie gras. I was remembering a time—long before I understood the cost of things—when I came home from school one afternoon and slathered an impossibly thick layer of pâté de foie gras on one slice of Poilâne bread, a coating of currant jam on the other, and made myself a sandwich so heady I never gave my trusty Skippy another look.

A little farther down the Rue du Bac, Romeo stopped in his tracks. I looked up and saw a priest holding out a handful of Communion wafers. Romeo ate them as the priest uttered a merry blessing—and here, to my astonishment, he called my dog by name. Seeing my surprise, the priest told me that our housekeeper had brought Romeo to be baptized when he was a mere pup and had been taking him to Communion ever since. Confession, too? I wanted to ask, but I remembered that Romeo lived the life of the good—well, there had been a small chicken incident in Normandy, but we won’t talk about that now. I thanked the Father profusely, and we continued down the street.

Brandy and benedictions: The day was turning out well. The late-afternoon light had faded to pink, and I found myself walking back to the Flore. I’d bought absolutely nothing of substance or nutrition, not even a main course for that night’s dinner. My groceries were the delirious pickings of a woman in love. Looking back on that summer afternoon, I now realize that I was at the cusp of something. No longer a child, not quite an adult—but suddenly on the verge of a romance that I somehow knew would shape my life. My excursion was a walk back through time. Every shop held memories; every taste, every sip, every smell a re-minder of the daily life of my girlhood.

I wish I could I tell you that I arrived back at the Flore to find John, just beginning to feel the first pangs of evening hunger, craving pâté and cheese and ice cream. But it would be several more days until our first dinner together, and several years until we were married.

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