The evening began with a screening of "Master and Commander". All the fat cats would feast on grog and period correct maritime fare. The putrid smell of lamb trotters with white beans and lumps of Milton Keynes pork hung in the air while they bellowed and howled reciting their favorite passages from the canon. The décor was that of a Gilded Age bachelor; lots of rich, dark wood, groaning grandfather clocks, Magnums, Melchiors and big-game taxidermy. But it was after a brunch & brandy tasting we met. She was on the arm of an unnamed French aristocrat waiting for the valet in the rain. I found it odd they each had their own umbrella. I read their body language fast and furious and sized it all up on the back pages of a wide ruled marble notebook in my brain. She didn't look unhappy so much as she looked uninspired and unadored. It was a travesty, really. A silver Flying Spur pulled up and she rolled her eyes. She opened her own door while he allowed the valet to open his. I almost threw up my eggs benedict (hold the bacon Québécois). As they pulled away our eyes met in a flash behind a galaxy of raindrops on the passenger side window. And that right there was the start of a lifelong love affair as famous as the smell of leather, coffee, sugar and sea. As immortal as sweet revenge, the sound of a ticking clock, rubber tires rolling over crushed gravel and the wind weaving through the cedars.