“Daddy,” said Nora, “I think we should go to tea at Mariage Freres. Just you and me.”
I ordered for us a pot of Rouge d’Automne, and for Mademoiselle, a large chocolate macaron and a madeleine. I love these times alone with her, because she and I talk in ways she doesn’t when around her brothers.
“Daddy, I really love Lucas,” she said, of her brother.
“What do you love about him?”
“I love how he likes to play games with me, and he knows just how to do it. But when he gets sad, he gets really sad.”
“Yes, that’s his temperament.”
“It is. Everybody has their own talents and their own skills.”
“What’s your talent?”
“I can make air come out my eyes. But one of my friends told me that everybody can do that.”
We put milk and sugar in our tea, and felt all grown up in the fancy tea room.
“Would you like some of my madeleine, Daddy?”
“No, Baby Girl, it’s all for you.”
“Well, I don’t think I can finish it. That was a big macaron.”
“OK, I’ll finish it for you.”
After we paid and were descending the stairs to the shop down below, Nora said, “I think we should visit the Tea Museum in the basement. So we did.
We went back upstairs, bought some tea leaves for friends back home, put our coats back on, and walked back towards home.
“Daddy, you know what? You and I haven’t done enough shopping for clothes for me.”
“Well, Mom took you shopping a lot. I know she bought some things.”
“Yes, but that wasn’t the same as shopping with you. You always know what I like. You always bring home the best presents.”
We crossed the Boulevard Saint-Germain, then wound our way through the Latin Quarter, up the hill, holding hands.
“Daddy, did you know that even bad people, no matter how evil they are, they have a little spark of goodness in them, and God tries His best to make that grow into a big flame?”
“Yes, that’s true, Baby Girl.”
“So no matter how bad you are, you could be good.”
“You’re right about that.”
“It’s like you could sit at the right hand of the Father.”
“And if somebody dies, it’s not God’s fault. He didn’t want them to get sick. It’s just the cycle of life. God didn’t want Aunt Ruthie to die. It was just her time.”
“How old are you, Daddy?”