He left our table to use the restroom at the chic French restaurant. A waiter appeared, picked up his white linen napkin, whipped it in the air, and gingerly folded it into quarters. I smiled as he placed the napkin beside the empty plate. A moment later another waiter came by, lifted the quartered napkin, snapped it in the air, folded it neatly in eighths, then placed it in the center of the empty plate, and left. Moments later the maitre d’ smirked at the napkin, raised it, waved it as a bullfighter waves his cape, then magically transformed it into a rose, delicately placing it in the center of the plate.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw him returning from the restroom. As surreptitiously as possible, I motioned for him to return to the bathroom. He looked around, confused, and continued toward our table. I waved him back. Go. Go back. Now. Turn around. But he wouldn’t.
As he sat down, he asked what I was doing. “I wanted you to stay in the bathroom a while longer. I think the swan would have appeared next…”