She examines dresses on display. The salesman sees her. They once were lovers. She steps his way, soon they will be in sight of each other. He braces himself mentally for the encounter. Her look is a glance then a double-take. "Michael is that you?" She asks.
"It's me; how are you," he says.
She looks better than the last time he saw her. "Shopping?" He asks.
"Not really, I'm just looking for now," she says then asks. "Do you work here?"
"Yes, I gave up the starving artist thing." That is how he met her in Rittenhouse Square park, attempting to sell a painting to her then convincing her to pose for a portrait, almost nude, in the privacy of his apartment that became nude portraits. They became lovers.
"You stopped painting?" She asks.
"No, I just stopped trying to buy food with my paintings," he says.
He does not see a ring on her finger. "How has life been treating you?" He asks.
"No complaints and you."
"Other than not being a starving artist, I'm okay."
He glances at the wall clock. "I got lunch in a minute, would you like to join me in a goblet and sandwich." It was their thing when they were lovers to enjoy a glass of wine with a sandwich and bowl of fruit.
She hesitates with an answer.
"Just to talk about our old times together."
Not seeing a ring of marriage encourages him to believe that the fellow who interrupted them being lovers is no more in her life. She has not stopped being in his life. He thinks of her often and wishes that she would return in his life so it will no longer be a wish. They eat sandwiches at a slow pace, share grapes from a bowl, between sips of wine with their conversation of their time together. He asks. "What happened that caused you to leave him?" She's stun. Her expression tells him that he asked the wrong question. He stares at her finger. She sees it then understand why he asked such a question. "He's having the ring replaced for a more expensive one like he promised," she says.
He sighs out not just air but his self-esteem; he looks around to not let her see his disheartenment.
"It's been nice seeing again but I have to go now," she says.
In a sad manner he says, "yes, sure, of course."
He look at her leave, wishes that he didn't have to.