Frehel Diaries: L'Etranger
After our nap, the Sauvage is going to take me to the beach where will sit and eat kouing-aman. Unfortunately, his car won't start. While this means that we can't go the beach to enjoy kouing aman, the more important issue is how the hell can I make my flight if his car is dead? While we are trying to start the car, his parents drive by with Nana. Sure enough the car pulls over and Nana comes running over.

There goes my romantic afternoon, I think.

Despite the fact that she hasn't seen him for only two hours, she runs and hugs him. She chatters at him alternatively hugging him and refusing to allow him to talk to anyone else for five minutes. When I went to high school, there was this clique of female lacrosse players who each day when they saw each other would screech and run at each other, hug, and jump and down squealing like they had just won the lottery. This happened five days a week for four years. Of course, we made fun of them. It was so contrived, so fake, this pantomime of desperate over the top exuberance at seeing a classmate and friend. And Nana's display struck me as the rudimentary form of that. I wondered if they have lacrosse in France.

Finally the Sauvage and his father discuss the car situation. His father asks me if I MUST return the following day. Stuck as I am in this town, there is no way I can contact AirFrance in order to change my flight (I knew this from my previous escape attempt). I think about it, do I h ave to go back? No. I don't have work. The cat sitter, if I can contact her, can continue to watch the divine Miss P.

But I so desperately want to go back. I tell myself it's because I don't want have to pay extra fees, but really I am tired of this life on a swiftly tilting planet where men go from adoring to callous and back again in a matter of hours. I wanted to be back in a world that I understand. A world where I am not at the mercy of a man.

After a discussion, the parents drive off leaving us with Nana. We go back to the hotel room. They lie on the bed, Nana playing her gameboy. I sit in the window until the Sauvage motions for me to come over and lie between them.

He falls asleep almost immediately, and Nana shows me the game she is playing-the sims pets, which thankfully is in English. After showing me how to play, she starts a character for me. I don't really want to play, but she takes such pride in coaching me that I go along. Before I know it, she's asleep too. I lie between these two-and for a moment I wonder who these people are. Sure I’d invite them into my life, but what is that really? I live my life out in the open. Inviting someone in? I do that on a daily, an almost hourly, basis, hardly an extraordinary offer on my part. And my life in NY is so disconnected from others that I’m not inconveniencing anyone except my cat. But these people have welcomed me into their lives. Accepted this person who comes from a country known only to them through TV shows and movies. This person who they know so little about and understand almost nothing of what she says. They don’t know my mind any more that they know what I’m capable of. They’ve invited this nymphomanical anthropologist into their midst. I’ll paint them as ridiculous savages for the entertainment of others. I’ll sacrifice what tiny chance I might have at happiness in order to get it. And all of them too.

And their vulnerability and their trust touches me, but not enough. Not enough to protect them even as I am awed by the sacrifice they do not know they are making.

After an hour or so, Nana wakes. She is pleased with the progress I've made, convinced that it is the product of her tutelage. I hand the game over to her and watch as she plays. Her hands are beautiful and delicate. Her dirty blonde hair falls long over her shoulders. Yes, she will grow up to be a diabolically beautiful woman.But who am I to accuse her of monstrousness?


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