Frehel Diaries: Thank Heaven for Little Girls
At that point, it's over for me. I'm in it now for the beach, food, calvados, cider, and material for my soon to be upcoming best seller. But this whole love business, it just isn't me. I've already decided which one of my male harem I am going to call the minute I land to redeem all of NY for this grand miscarriage of justice: this beast of a guy I know with a Brooklyn accent, his shirt sleeves always rolled up, with his complete and utter devotion to female satisfaction balanced by the fact that he's a real throw you on the bed and pleasure you until you need an ambulance type of guy. A kind of pornographic Stanley Kowalski. Sure, I'll be able to understand every word he says, but I don't want him for his conversation. Still I have to survive the next five days to make it back to NY first.

Once the Sauvage returns to the hotel, we follow our usual pattern and pick up Chuck and Nana for an afternoon at the beach. After the usual long slog along the sand, he forgets me as usual. But if I learned one thing from watching the movie Patton, it's to learn from your enemies. I lay there pouting a la Nana and suddenly it's all about me and my needs and slathering suntan oil on me without asking and flirting. He asks me to rub suntan oil on him, which again I have to wonder about the brilliance of treating a sunburn with sun tan oil, but he asked. By the time I'm done with his front, Nana wants in on the action having survived all of 10 minutes without his undivided attention. She insists on taking over for me, and just as quickly as I am remembered, I am forgotten.

Watching the two of them together, her with bathing suit pulled down, straddling him and rubbing sun tan oil into his back, I wonder about their relationship. The intensity of their bond seems unhealthy to me, and yet I am aware that my family history has given me absolutely zero insight on what a healthy father daughter bond might be like. I just know that I am beginning to feel more and more like a substitute for the daughter. A girl of about the same size with whom he can have sex when his daughter isn't around to monopolize his attention-a play toy, not a real relationship. And if I hadn't flown across an entire ocean, I might be OK with that.

As it was, I was pissed.

The beauty of an unshared language is that I could say "Fuck this" and march off into the water without fear of a fight and also without having to explain myself. I splashed around in the water for about an hour before I decided it was too cold. I was walking in the surf when Chunk spotted me and decided I need to swim and play with her. Nana had long since abandoned her, and Chunk seemed perfectly happy to accept me as a playmate.

Chunk didn't seem to have any awareness of the fact that I only understood one out of every 50 words that came spilling out of her mouth. She chatted brightly with me, or actually at me, in French while diving into the waves. We began searching for the biggest waves. Her excitement when she saw a particularly large wave coming, her eyes wide, pointing before quickly swimming out to meet it charmed me. After awhile, I got cold again. I tried to get out of the water, but each time Chunk would literally grab me about the waist and drag me back in. She would splash me with water claiming it was warm. Not impressed that the temperature had changed, she dragged me even further out almost drowning me a few times to ensure I wasn't going to leave. Once I accepted that I was going anywhere, we both dared each other in a away, swimming far out. Occasionally, she swam too far out. Once I reached her, she wrapped her arms and legs around me.

As we swam, she asked me how old I am. I told her I'm 32, she responded that she is 8. She asked if I have children. I told her I don't. A couple walking along the surf with a naked baby noticed Chunk wrapped around me as I "carried" her in the water. "You have a nice family" they complimented me. I returned the compliment.

I've never thought of my childlessness as a sacrifice. But here in the water, as she and I played, I realized that I've always though of children as constant sacrifice. Chunk, however, saved my trip. She was energetic, uncomplaining, and most importantly out of anyone here she ded more to make me feel included than anyone else. I realized I like her far better than Nana. If Chunk was the Sauvage's daughter there wouldn't be a problem. I'd move to France in a heartbeat and adopt this girl. Unfortunately, she isn't the Sauvage's daughter.

Chunk bored of the waves, but still didn't want to stop being in the water. She decided we should play a game of "cache-cache."* At first I was nervous about playing, first off because I was terrified of genuinely losing her. That would be all I needed to make my vacation complete would be to lose some French child at the beach. And how would I explain how I had lost her? Furthermore, I wasn't sure how the hell one played hide and go seek at the beach. Where does one hide?

Quickly Chunk realized that she hadn't really thought out this whole "cache-cache" thing too well and it was quickly abandoned, but she still didn't want to give up on the water. We ended up on a sandbar, where the water was very warm and fairly shallow. With her arms clasped around my neck, I slowly cruised like some great prehistoric seabeast my eyes barely above the water. I dug my hands into the sand while imagining to target some young swimmers with an innertube as our next meal. I rather liked this game playing the mother beast contemplating my prey with my young on my back like being the star of my own sci-fi channel movie only set on a French beach.1

But the Sauvage found us. We had played the entire afternoon away. We needed to return Chunk to her parents and prepare for dinner, I hoped. Still the afternoon was enough to give me hope that I could still enjoy this trip even as the Sauvage's interest in me wanned.

* Cache-chache is hide and go seek. The word "cache" means hiding place.
1 I also have to think it would be more entertaining than their latest magnum opus "Rottweiler."

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