"are there any other black executives in your office?" she asks.
He pauses for a moment. "There's one other vice-president. To tell you the truth, though" - he grins, almost in apology - "I don't like him much."
Emboldened by the wine, by their growing intimacy, she asks, "Do you ever feel lonely at work?"
He looks sad all of a sudden. "You know," he says wistfully, "down where I come from, we have a saying: In the South, black folks can get as close as they want to white folks, but just don't try to move high in their world. In the North, you can get as high as you want, as long as you don't get close."
That seems to sum things up. She looks frankly at him, and he returns the look. In all her nervous thoughts about what might happen when two people come together, this is something she has overlooked: a chance to be understood.