Short summary - Do you like Brahms... - Aimez-vous Brahms...
Micro-narrative: An aging woman begins an affair with a man much younger than her. They converge, begin to live together, but the woman misses her former lover, who cheated on her, and returns to him.
Paul looked in the mirror at herself, a forty-nine-year-old woman. Roger was to arrive shortly. She was lonely.
Roger came and after his story about a recent fight in which he was involved, they went to a restaurant for dinner. In the restaurant they talked and danced. In the evening, Roger brought Paul home and she was left alone again. And he went to wander around the city, wondering if he did the right thing, not staying.
He was her life, although he forgot about it, and she herself helped him to forget with very praiseworthy modesty.
The next morning, Paul got up early and went to work with an elderly American woman, Kleber. Paul was a designer. In Kleber's drawing-room she met a young man, graceful and handsome. It was the mistress's twenty-five-year-old son, Simon, who was a legal assistant. He was confused.
After talking with him for a short time, Paul was left alone with the hostess and plunged into a discussion of the new design. At the exit, Paul was waiting for Simon, who offered to give her a lift to the office. She agreed. On the way, he invited her to supper, but Paul refused, referring to being busy.
Having brought Paul, Simon went to work, where he had an unpleasant conversation with his boss, who reproached him for laziness and inactivity. Simon promised to improve, and he thought about Paul, about which he told his elderly colleague Alice.
In the evening, Paul met with Roger again, and after talking about their relationship, the two of them went to a restaurant. There Simon, drunk, came up to their table, which caused Paul's confusion and Roger's displeasure. Simon behaved modestly, apologized and hinted at his feelings. After a few more glasses, he completely wilted, and he had to be taken home. Roger stayed with Paul that night.
In the morning, Paul was arranging items in the shop window when Simon approached. For a while he admired Paul, then invited her to have breakfast in nature. She remembered that she was free this morning and agreed.
They got to a small restaurant outside the city. At breakfast Simon apologized for yesterday, they talked a little about Paul and Simon's work, and this made Paul realize his loneliness. After the restaurant they decided to take a walk. Simon said that he admired Paul, but she suddenly thought of Roger and, thanking him for the walk, left.
Roger was lying with the young blonde Mazie, his next fleeting infatuation. She was pretty, dreamed of becoming an actress. They decided to spend the weekend outside the city without leaving their room. On the phone, Roger explained to Paul that he would be busy with work all weekend. She justified him and again was left alone.
On Saturday, Paul went to Madame Van den Besch, Simon's mother. They talked for a long time, but Paul hardly listened. At the end of their conversation, Simon appeared, who agreed to lead Paul to the exit from the entrance. At the entrance, he approached her, but she left.
In the morning, Paul found a letter under the door in which Simon invited her to a Brahms concert in the evening. She didn't know if she would go, but she went. After the cocktail concert, Simon talked about music, but Paul did not listen to him, she thought about Roger. Simon understood this. He tried to explain to Paul her loneliness and express her feelings, but she insisted that she loved Roger and left, leaving Simon convinced that he needed her.
She found him too handsome. Too pretty to be sincere.
Roger actually spent two days in bed with Mazi, almost without leaving the room. Only once did they go to a nearby restaurant to dine and there they met Simon. This embarrassed Roger, because Simon could tell Paul everything. But he knew Paul, so he wasn't too worried.
Having delivered Mazie, Roger immediately went to Paul. She warmly greeted him, asked him how his work was, told him that she had been at a concert with Simon, which angered Roger. He knew everything, and so did she. They went to a restaurant.
In the morning, Simon sent Paul a letter in which he apologized and said that he was leaving the city. He loved her. She again remembered how Roger almost let slip yesterday about his new acquaintance, then wrote the answer ...
Simon was sitting in the living room and preparing for a reception on the occasion of a successfully completed business. He thought of Paul, whom he had not seen in seven days, and knew that he needed her. In the last letter, she wrote that he should come back. And he will return. Two hours later, he stood near Paul's house and watched her get out of someone else's car.
Simon and Paul were sitting on the shore of the lake in the forest, each thinking about his own. Simon was bored, he imagined that everything would be different. Paul was happy: at last she was not alone. Then they drove back to the city.
Elderly Mrs. Van den Besch noticed that her son was not indifferent to Paul, and even tried to question him, but he did not say anything. Meanwhile, the renovation in the living room was completed, and on this occasion a banquet was held, to which Paul and Roger were invited, who agreed to come, despite the fact that he was still meeting with Mazi. This intrigue already weighed him down, he longed for Paul, but often left her and went to Masi.
At the banquet, Roger and Simon almost quarreled, but still managed to avoid a quarrel. As soon as the opportunity arose, Roger and Paul left. He drove her to the entrance and, dropping off, drove on, angry with himself. Next to the entrance Paul was waiting for another car, in which Simon was sitting. He called her and she entered the car. And in the morning she woke up next to him.
After that evening, Simon had not seen Paul for ten days. She asked him not to come again. He became punctual, did his job. One evening he was waiting for her at the entrance to the store and when she came out, he hugged her and kissed her. They stood there, embracing and kissing.
Two days later, they dined together. Simon saw that Paul was alone, thinking about Roger and sad. Nearby was Simon, who loved her, and told her about it. But with her thoughts she was next to Roger, who seemed to have forgotten her, tormented her with indifference.
After the first night, Simon felt responsible for Paul, afraid to disturb her sleep. She had similar feelings. During the day, Paul went to work, and Simon drove around the city, radiating optimism and good mood. Roger was at that time in another city, doing business, and sometimes Paul called. Returning to Paris, he did not dare to visit Paul and went to Masi. It was only in the morning that he met Paul at the restaurant.
Paul only left the table once to call Simon. He cheerfully told her about his plans for the day. Then an unpleasant conversation took place between them and they decided not to meet for a while. Paul rushed out of the restaurant upset and in tears.
Roger and Mazi spent the night on a farm outside the city. When he woke up, he realized that he was no longer attracted to her. After a few phrases, he just got into the car and, without saying anything, drove into the city. He was in a bad mood, he felt that he had lost Paul.
A week later, Paul went to her apartment and found a drunken Simon there. He explained his behavior by the fact that she was indifferent to him, and he could not bear it. And she convinced him that he meant something to her, and reproached him for not working. He went to work again.
Usually in February, Paul and Roger went to the mountains for a couple of weeks. But this year they decided not to go. Paul remembered the past years anyway. In the evening, she and Simon went to a cabaret, and there she heard a remark about her age from strangers. Everything was ruined. They left the cabaret and returned home. Simon tried to convince Paul that she was still young and pretty, and that he loved her. She pretended to calm down.
The spring holidays were approaching, and Simon was thinking where to go to rest. He felt that Roger was still his rival. Paul knew that too. She often thought about Roger and imagined her future only with him, and not with Simon. At the same time, next to Simon, she was not alone. She was embarrassed and frightened by this uncertainty.
For the first time in her life, she enjoyed this terrible joy - to love someone whom you will inevitably make to go through torment.
Roger was also hard without Paul. He thought about her, about how to return.
They met by chance at the entrance to the restaurant. Roger came with the lady, Paul with Simon. They sat down at adjacent tables and looked at each other. Then the dancing began. In the dance, they touched each other.
The next morning, Paul received a letter from Roger. He invited her to a meeting. They met, and it turned out that both were unhappy, and so it was impossible to continue. Paul knew she was caught again.
Ten days later, Simon left Paul's apartment. It was hard for him and for her, but it was necessary. Left alone, Paul heard Roger's well-known voice on the telephone, explaining that he could not come because he was having a business lunch.