1. PLEASED TO MEET YOU

I am from Germany, I said. Oh, my husband is German too, she said. Our name is Speck. And to confirm, Mr. Speck at the next table in the Florentine Trattoria piped some words meant to be in my language. Beaming. Burly. High blood pressure. Very friendly, actually. From Atlanta, Georgia. In finance. Pleased to meet you. I’m from Geilenkirchen, near Aachen. Small town. You wouldn’t have heard of it. Unless you were with the military. Big NATO base close by. For nuclear missiles, initially. Now for AWACS reconaissance planes. People always said we had nothing to fear — that when atomic war came we’d see none of it. Because we’d be the first hit. Funny. Yes, today we visited the Uffizi too. Very beautiful. You must try the dessert: Profiterol. Pastry balls with a cream filling drowned in a chocolate sauce. Delicious. Enjoy your stay. And safe travels.
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