Dear Ditta,

I wanted to tell you why our last waltz in Paris went the way it did.

Ten years ago, when I met you with Jiri and Petra in a small café near gare Saint-Lazare, from the outset you were a mystery to me. A few hours later, your thigh briefly resting on mine, while lying under the Eiffel tower : the image haunted me.

A couple of weeks ago, Jiri called to say that he was coming to Paris, on the following Thursday, with a friend I didn't know and with Ditta. He added that you had insisted it'd be nice if I could meet your group.

Since my teachings in Lyons take a lot of my time, I explained that I'd only be free on Friday. So we agreed, with no more details, that we would meet someplace in Paris on that day.

Friday morning I dressed up - tie and stuff -, because I had in mind that we could all go spend some time at my club, that you may remember, where I took you for a swim.

Not to wait at home for Jiri's call, I went to my favorite bar, where are my usual pals : a retired general, a retired coke dealer, a learned bar tender and other odd characters. We discussed, played chess, drank and had fun. Several times, I tried to join Jiri on his cellular, with no success. It turns out I had an old number.

I'm an early riser and usually go to bed early (I can tell you it does not ensure health, wealth and wisdom…)

So, by noon, the spirits were high, and still willing, but the thirsts were not quenched.

Later, when we finally met, in the bar at the corner of rue de Verneuil and rue de Beaune, it was a different day from the one I had pictured when I woke up. I didn't mind. For the last 25 years or so that I've known Jiri, things have always turned out to be quite different from planned or expected.

At the Galatée the conversation was lively, you and Wladimira were beautiful, the staff was friendly, the oysters were fine, Jiri was happy, and I felt like a lark. I remember that you encouraged me to seize the opportunity, if I had it, to go and give some courses in Prague. But I don't remember the rest of the evening.

What I know is that you must have slept with a log. I apologize.

The next morning was crazy. I won't go into details, you know them. I even found the time, at the Ambassadors (another of my hang outs), cattycorner from my old office, to have a couple of drinks and a chat with two bar tenders that had just finished their night shift and were preparing to go and sleep.

Then we met again the four of us.

At the Lorraine, when I said that some wrong timing seemed to have played a fiendish game between you and me, you had the elegance to respond : "This time yes, perhaps another time…"

The sequel of the Saturday, at Elyette's, is irrelevant.

I just wanted to tell you my admiration. For you as a person and for you as an entrepreneur. Having been that myself several times, I know what kind of life it is.

I wish you the best luck possible (if luck is necessary to you). You have everything else : the contacts, the knowledge, the drive.

And please stay a mystery.

With love,