Page 37, “The Persuasion”
Over the next three weeks, Tonin and I used Paris to launch conversations that would take decades to complete.
He waited a few days to ask about my old boyfriends, which given his hair-trigger reaction to my kindergarten beau, Teddy, indicated remarkable restraint, I thought. Many of my guy friends had shown up as characters in stories I’d told him…but there was one whose name had yet to surface.
We’d begun this particular conversation while walking back to his apartment after our first time seeing “Breathless” (we would eventually see it dozens of times), but, to my relief, he’d gotten sidetracked when he noticed wilting flowers in the planter outside his building, which caused him to go up and down the elevator to the apartment, fetching bucket after bucket of water until he was satisfied the blossoms were perking up again.
As it happened, the subject of my romantic attachments didn’t re-emerge at the most appropriate moment. Or perhaps it did.
Against every self-promise, against every aspect of the strong-as-steel plan I’d forged to fend off any further entanglements, I’d found myself not returning to my hotel that first night. We hadn’t parted since the morning after we met at the Breathless café. We were eating together, falling asleep in the same bed, following each other to the bathroom (maintaining some modicum of respect by standing outside the door while continuing to talk).
“This is happening, Mary Jane,” he said from outside the bathroom.
“Us. You and me.” He stuck his head through the door and withdrew it quickly. “Tonin and Mariana. Mariana and Tonin.”
I said what I’d said before. “Good friends.”“Fine. Take your time. It’s nice out here. You’ll like it. I’ll be waiting.”