Inside the La Madeleine, a cozy French café, the Franks order their coffees and pastries and search for the perfect table. After they take off their coats and settle themselves down, Mrs. Frank reminds her daughters that Grandma M’s arrival is not too far away. The girls both smile with delight; they have missed Grandma M’s stories, her talks, her habit for always carrying food in her big purse. The Franks are awfully talkative tonight; even the quiet Mr. Frank shares his thoughts with his wife and daughters as they discuss a road trip to NYC and Boston and Chicago. They want to show Grandma M the city, introduce her to American delights and have her listen to Christmas carols. It is a pleasant, sweet night for them, one they have not had in a while. Once the coffees are finished, the empty mugs stained, and the waiter is tipped, the Franks step out into the cold, thinking of Grandma M.
Yes. He was in love with her words, with the way she carried her sentences, the way she ended them. It was a different kind of love, sort of indefinable; yet at the same time, they both understood it. They both knew what kind of love it was. And they both kept it a secret.
She settled herself in Manhattan, sipping her morning coffee in subways and taxis, writing stories in crowded, packed cafes on 5th Avenue. She kept in touch with him, asking him how he was and what he was up to. And then one day he got married and she finally let him go. New York was hers now, just like he always said.
Scrambled; I like my eggs scrambled, she reiterates herself, carefully watching her mother head upstairs to the kitchen. She is irritated, indignant that her breakfast has been delayed, again. At 3 p.m. she is meeting him for lunch; they have much to discuss about their engagement plans. Today is an important day and everything needs to go right. By now I should already be doing my laundry, she mutters to herself, watching the clock that reads 11. Mrs. Hathaway returns downstairs from a very disordered, messy kitchen, holding a plate of salted scrambled eggs, neatly placed on the right side of the dish, just as her daughter likes it. They are too salty, Elizabeth complains. And where is the bun; you know I always like the bun on the side. Mrs. Hathaway heads back up to the kitchen. She has forgotten, she realizes, that her daughter likes her eggs scrambled and not too salted, that she always eats them with a bun on the side, that she has to have a glass of milk no later than 12 p.m. Elizabeth waits impatiently, tapping her manicured nails on the table. I can’t believe she has forgotten, she mutters again. By the time Mrs. Hathaway returns back with the bun carefully placed on the side, not touching the eggs, Elizabeth has already reached her car, shaking her head, her stomach growling loudly. Mrs. Hathaway stands by her daughter’s empty chair, staring at the dish she had prepared with such delight. As Elizabeth pulls her Mercedes out of the driveway, Mrs. Hathaway sits her self down to eat. Yes, I added a tad too much salt, she says as if she is speaking to Elizabeth.