The crumble was not a crumble.  She was smiling at the waiter when she said it.  She was blushing, too, speaking softly but assuredly.  Crumbles are meant to taste of butter.  The sugar from the fruit should caramelize.  The sauce should ooze out through a sandy crust.  A crumble should never taste that healthy.  

 

     Emma says she has been thinking about self-respect.  I take a picture of our meal with my phone and then hurry to put it away, stuttering a reply.  She says that she has spent most of her adult life waiting on a reply to an email from a man.  

 

     She loves figs, but only ones that she has picked from a tree in the south of France, its skin cracked from the hot sun, its juices crystallized.  We are sitting down to tea at one of her favorite spots near the Palais Royal when she tells me this.  Then she laughs when I start laughing.