It was a blustery Sunday morning and I kept out of the wind waiting on the bench at the bus stop. Across the boulevard des Invalides, windswept parishioners were filing into the doorway of St. François Xavier. Directly across the street from me, a minuscule old lady dressed in her Sunday best clung to the post at the corner, terrified to cross the quiet side street -- apparently fearing that she would fall down or get knocked over by the powerful gusts.
Lumbering slowly down the broad sidewalk nearby were a middle-aged man in a Barbour jacket and his ancient, arthritic yellow lab. I winced at the poor beast's painful hobbling: it was barely able to lift a leg when the smell was right. Monsieur eventually looked ahead of him and, noticing the lady frozen with fear at the curb, he tugged the leash and slowly ambled over to rescue la vieille dame. Gallantly, he offered her his elbow.
Oh, I was so moved. I felt a lump rising in my throat, tears almost welling up in my eyes as I observed the quirky trio inching their way across to the next sidewalk. A Hallmark moment, a warm and fuzzy silent commercial -- it lacked only violins.
The endearing blog post was already writing itself.
The threesome edged through the iron gates of St. François Xavier and tottered painstakingly up the stone steps. I held my breath for the sweet and tender finale, the adieu as they reached the doors of the church.
I couldn't hear their conversation, of course. But suddenly I saw the man thrust the palms of both hands skyward with contempt, shaking his head violently at the old lady, pounding his index finger at his chest. He spun around and stormed down the stairs, dragging the dog behind him like a laundry bag, bumpa-bumpa-bump down the hard steps.
My bus arrived -- the damned deus ex machina!
I hopped on board, dazed and confused.