Anna-Leena Harkonen


Thomas Roussel/Alamy 


We’ll Never Have Paris

I once stole an egg from Café de Flore.

In times of despair, I sometimes resort to stealing—not that often, though: perhaps once every five years. And I never steal anything that would be a real loss to someone.

AT THE TIME, I was in Paris with my lover. I call him my lover because it sounds good. A secret rendezvous in Paris sounds even better.

I waited a long time for him at a window table. When he finally appeared and sat down opposite me, I suddenly realized that our relationship wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t have a future with him, assuming I wanted one. 

TO MAKE UP for the loss, I stole an egg. I could never have him, so I took a perfectly shaped egg from a rack of three and slipped it into my purse.

My lover gave me a reproachful look.

When our waiter came to collect the payment, he pointed at the rack: he knew one of the eggs was missing. He was amiable rather than judgmental; he only wanted us to know he wasn’t born yesterday.

OUTSIDE, my lover said, “We can never go back there.”

I disagreed: yes, we could. If we had a future.

From Faint Lines by Anna-Leena Harkonen

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