"It was strange. I’d been alone for so long. And in an hour or so, I would be with her again, even if only briefly and badly. So for the moment, I relished the feeling of sitting in that dusky haven of a back room, a little relic from my recent past. I felt like Schrödinger’s cat. She would come, or not come. She would take me in, or throw me out. She would forgive me, or tell me to fuck off. And in that narrow, purgatorial space, a feeling crept in, a kind of mourning for my younger self and all his terrible choices, and a wish that I could somehow tell him what I knew now and help him for both our sakes to get it right, and a grief that such a thing was impossible, the young man’s blindness irreparable, his mistakes immutable, the consequences irreversible. And then I smiled, thinking of mono no aware, the sadness of being human, aware of the irony of having traveled all the way to Paris to feel something so quintessentially Japanese."