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Meet Salene

A decade earlier, there was a short movie called Histoire d’une obsession. Mona Lisa keeps smiling quizzically while the hero is pursued by images of her everywhere. She smiles at him in a museum, at a bookseller along the banks of the Seine, in the streets, at a café. Enough to drive him insane.

“What’s her secret?” Salene asked as they stood before the real Mona Lisa at the Louvre. “What’s behind that smile?”

“Isn’t that what everyone asks?” Axel laughed.

 “I’m serious. See how parts of her smile disappear into the background? Look right at her eyes and her smile together. Now avoid the eyes. Look only at the smile. See? Her smile changes. See.”

Salene didn’t move for minutes while Axel fidgeted.

“When I first came here, I wanted to know how he did it. Now I care only why.”

 They left the Louvre without viewing another piece of art. Outside, they walked the Tuileries and headed to Café Blanc, where they ordered cognacs.

 “Why’d you ask me to join you? I’m not exactly an art connoisseur.”

 “Didn’t want to be alone.”