What could I do? She sat there staring at me, over the rim of those spectacles, as though she knew me, or wanted to get to know me. The hot chocolate was overflowing with whipped cream on my table, complemented by the identical beverage on hers; two kindred souls, who had come to a bookshop to indulge the epicurean rather than the literary, both of us sitting there with our cell-phones, hunting on Amazon.com for cheap, second-hand copies of the books we had selected from the shelves in this expensive store. I finished my book orders and was just calculating the options when the man she was really looking for arrived, with mocha frappuccino and a stale almond croissant. What could I do? I took out my sketchpad and tried to capture, not the woman so much as that look, the scholarly perusal, that expert appraisal, that maybe-another-time. The finished portrait came later, though I guess I have to call this one an unfinished portrait.
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