They slept in the same bed but that was all they had in common. He, an editor, had shelves filled with literary works and she, his wife of many years and never much of a reader, had strewn their apartment with Madeline children’s books.
“Good morning, Monsieur Editor,” she said, in her singsong of half English, half French. “Today’s menu is made of eggs du jour.”
He sighed, got up, adjusted his royal purple pyjamas, and said, “Thank you, Madame, but I think you meant to say eggs are ON the menu. A menu can’t be made of eggs.”
She smiled, kissed him on the cheek, and said, “Ecoutez, cherie. The kettle is perking. I’m making you café very au lait.”
He grunted, put on his polished leather slippers, and said, “Thank you, Madame, but I think you meant to say the kettle is BOILING. Coffee pots perk.”
She smiled, took him by the hand, and said, “Allez to the balcony for brekkie au soleil. ON the menu are croissants. No crumbs.”
He grimaced, but said nothing. She led him out onto the balcony. “Where’s breakfast?” he asked.
She stood behind him, and pushed. Over the railing he went, landing twenty stories down.
She got a croissant and a copy of Madeline in Paris, returned to the balcony, and sat in the sun.
He was tout fini. She would illiterate him from memory.
“I tried to tell you, Monsieur Editor,” she said with ennui, munching her croissant. “No crumbs.”