One might ask why the now retired Captain Renault did not stop to talk to the middle-aged lady in Paris' main train station on this cold, rainy evening in 1954, even though he had recognized her face, her still beautiful features. Time had been gentle on her, and there was barely a wrinkle when she smiled at the train employee who moved her luggage into the train. It was by chance that he saw her here tonight, but it wasn't chance that he knew that Laszlo was dead for three years, finally succumbing to the aftermath of the German KZ, and that she had returned to Stockholm after his death, because she had never really felt comfortable in America. He had always followed her tracks with the help of some police friends, here and there.
But he wouldn't talk to her, because she'd ask him about Rick, and he wouldn't be able to lie and then they'd meet again and it would only bring back the old sorrow. And that's not what Rick needed in his life anymore. Rick, who'd never again asked about her whereabouts after the plane had left off in Casablanca. She had been gone and they had remained there, had survived the war with some scratches but not enough to really count, as long as you could stay alive at all in this crazy world.
He turned around and walked away, toward the big doors that would spill him out into the nighttime Paris, would bring him back from his memories into the world of today. The rain would take away the taste of desert sand on his tongue, washing it away as it had that night in 1942, and the city's noise would drain the song that played in his mind, giving him back the knowledge that the fundamental thing in life was true friendship instead of empty romance, which only had hurt Rick all too often
And if, behind his back, a faint call seemed to be heard, a tender voice speaking his name in wonder and question, he didn't hear it because he wouldn't listen anymore.