Punctuation

It was as if a comma had left the white linen of the tablecloth and curled up inside the bottle of Burgundy between them. She thinking how it would be wonderful – oh – to drink anytime glass after glass of it in France native soil vines and cheeses hundred franc banquets lavender fields of Haut Provence town of Aix fountains smell spring evenings Mont Victoire couldn’t they go, just go to Bourdeau, and Marsailles eat Boullabaisse and dream in front of the ocean – its not as if he’d be bored there. could visit Montaigne’s room all those amazing essays excite himself with the thought of them again fierce then but more tender too. He: holding forth. Words. Vectoring his way through the field. Non stop. Pauseless. Bound to the spell. As if he might disappear if he stopped too soon, as if ….. “Care for desert, sir?”, the French waiter crashes through the ceiling. He and she, they order creme brule and orange sorbet. Eager to move he gets the bill. Why do the French write commas and not decimal points in their numbers? She says she prefers it that way, you could pause before plunging on. He couldn’t see why you’d want to hesitate in the middle of a number: being trapped motionless in the center of a French thought. And what’s more, she says, unlike dots, commas had a shape. That’s not the point, he says. But why, she asks, do questions have to have a point, why they couldn’t have a – a pause – a comma. He, ever punctual, says: seven-twenty-nine. Let’s go.

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