So there we were at the flea market in Brussels, leafing through old poetry notebooks, when the owner of the stand came over. He was an old man with very white hair and dressed in a suit, probably handsome when he was young, but now making heads turn because floating about his shoulders and hanging to just above his knees was a flowing white cape. Yep, he called to mind a grandpa Superman.
"Do these notebooks please you?" he asked me in French.
"Yes," I replied, "I find them very charming."
Taking the one I had in my hand and adding another, he tucked the two objects under my arm, and said, "I give them to you, as gifts; just because you are so pretty."
Needless to say, I was charmed.
P.S. It turns out that this is a tradition amongst Belgian schoolgirls, to have notebooks that you have your classmates draw on and write poetry in. My friend from Brussels, who is in her thirties, remembers doing this when she was young. And now we have Myspace and Facebook.