Chapter 19

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There’s a first time for everything, she thought with wry humor. Her first instinct should have been to run seeing as she had never improvised, but the tiny voice in her head told her she’d rather be tortured in a Middle Age dungeon than let Matt sense an ounce of fear emanating from her.

She listened to the band composed of drums and guitar, maracas, and the beats were getting louder and quicker as Maude approached the stage, her heart beating as fast as the drum.

She could do this. She could improvise. At least she hoped she could. If Matt could do it, so could she. And better than him, too, she thought with a flash of fiery pride.

Matt took the first microphone and said, “Hello, everyone. I was talking to my friend Maude here, and she was telling me that Paris is the best city in the world. And I explained that New York was the greatest city. But she’s quite a stubborn girl and she keeps insisting!”

Matt was a definite crowd pleaser. Not a hint of shyness, not a trace of bashfulness emanated from him. His confidence had won over millions of people around the world and as she looked at him, Maude understood why. Beyond his penetrating stare and his devastating smile transpired something deeper. Maude had felt it in the Creation Room and witnessed it presently in magnified proportions: he wholeheartedly and irrefutably loved music. Just like she did, Matt lived for music.

“So, I’m going to need your help convincing her, okay?” he yelled.

The crowd yelled back in agreement.

“All right, here it goes.”

You’re new in New York

 So look at the view

Stop standing around

While the city flies past you

New York never sleeps

Party all night long

Get up on your feet

Dance from night til dawn

The crowd cheered as Maude went on stage and grabbed the second microphone. She sang in a strong voice the following words:


Rats all over the place

 Subways breaking down

Coffee spilled in my face

The list goes on and on

The crowd encouraged Maude loudly again, and she looked at Matt defiantly before taking on the chorus:

New York’s the place to see

Paris the place to be

Paris beats New York any day

Just give up and walk away


Matt continued:

Strikes everyday

Protests once a month

That’s Paris for you

Girl, you know it’s true

New York’s the city of the free

Led by the Statue of Liberty

 Concrete maze, blissful haze

A lively mess, a melting pot

Tied together in a tight knot 

Maude danced to the beat of the drums, her feet thumping, her mind whirling, and hands clapping. Then she stopped and answered, raising her head a little higher:

New York City sounds okay

Paris takes my breath away

Music is in the air

Rhythm is everywhere

Dancing in Moulin Rouge

Beats New Year’s in Times Square

Matt sang:

 Paris is the place to see

New York is the place to be

Paris versus New York City


Maude sang:

New York’s the place to see

Paris is the place to be

I’d choose Paris over New York any day

So just give up and walk away



Maude paused and sang slowly:


Let’s agree to disagree

My heart belongs to Paris

You love New York City

Come to Paris some time

I’m sure I’ll change your mind


Matt walked towards Maude and ended the song softly:


Paris versus New York City

Where you are is where I’ll be

 Forget Paris versus New York City

You’re all that matters to me


Then they sang together softly:

Forget Paris versus New York City

You’re all that matters to me”


Matt and Maude stopped singing, their eyes locked, as if nothing else in the world mattered. Maude’s heart was racing as the sound of the drums slowly died down, her eyes searched his as his last words echoed in her ear. You’re all that matters to me.

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