After a spell in Marseilles (Hex in the City?) the dogs are hanging out now, like angels, at the farm. That's the seductrice (winking). Sam "The Man," the gentleman gigolo, is looking camera shy. Click to enlarge this photo.
comme si de rien n'était
: as if nothing had happened
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Les chiens nous regardent, comme si de rien n'était.
The dogs look at us, as if nothing had happened.
A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse
(Note: The following story is continued from Wednesday's post.)
We wake up to the sound of barking! Rushing over to the bedroom window, we see no dogs in the cours* below. Hearing more aboiements* I look up to the sky. It is the seagulls that are calling. Cursed seagulls!
The sun is shining brightly, comme si de rien n'était.* The night had the nerve to end, the next day, to begin, sans chiens.*
"What are we going to tell Jackie?" Jean-Marc asks.
Our daughter sleeps, each night, with her hand dangling from the bed, to the floor, where it rests with reassurance on her dog's soft back.
I do not know how to answer my husband's question. I keep opening my mouth, but only the letter "I" comes out.
"Je vais faire un tour,*" Jean-Marc decides, putting on his T-shirt.
"Wait for me!"
During the ride over to the commissariat,* I see a caniche* on a leash, its owner trotting along, light on her feet. My face feels so heavy--as if anchors were drawing down the sides of my mouth; it is a strange sensation: the palpable weight of a frown.
I was not brought up to be so negative! "What You Say Is What You Get!" was the only other elixir in the medicine cabinet of my American childhood--that--and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. There were no cures for lost dogs even then.
* * *
At the police station, the droplets of blood have been wiped away. The comptoir is clean and behind it one of the officers is telling us there have been no reports of missing dogs.
We are turning to leave when another officer speaks up: Attendez une minute*... golden retrievers? Ça me dit quelque chose*... Yes, last night... at the train station--il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse.*
"Ce sont nos chiens!"* My husband shouts, his back already to the police officers as we hurry toward the exit.
At la Gare Saint-Charles a man is passed out beneath a tree, beer
bottles surrounding his head like a halo. Jean-Marc and I step around the SDF*. There are no dogs playing on the grass, some twelve hours after the last sighting. We head up the
famous sky-high stairs.
I see spots of blood on the steps--the same sanguine spots that Braise had left across the kitchen floor last week, before going into heat.
"Braise!" Jean-Marc shouts across the upper esplanade. A few disheveled men, beer in hand, look over to the shouting man. "BRAISE!" he calls out, with force. The men set down their bottles and study the newbie wanderer.
Braise come here! my husband commands, to the empty air before him, as if our dog would appear, comme ça.* And why not?
"BRAISE, Braise viens*!" I join in, zigzagging forward, looking here, there, in search of a miracle.
I see another homeless man sleeping on a filthy mattress beneath the train station. I hope the dogs slept here, à côté de lui,* so that all might find comfort.
"Let's go back to the B&B and get something to eat," Jean-Marc finally decides.
Driving out of the parking lot, Jean-Marc turns right--changing direction at the last minute.
"We'll just have a look over here," he explains. The car climbs to the upper-level, behind the train station, where a small square is empty... but for a couple of wayward travelers who are perched, side by furry-side, at the top of some steps, three or four meters from the street.
Ils sont là!* The tired travelers look over at us... comme si de rien n'était.
* * *
"I would marry you all over again!" I say, wrapping my arms tight around him, rediscovering the palpability of passion. And a kiss never tasted so good.
Update: Don't miss SAM'S version of this story (in French, of course!)... over at the blog Entre Gris et Rose.
King of Spain: please don't miss the Gallic love story of how I met my husband... and mistook him for un roi. Read the introductory chapter to my book Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language.
An attentive amour.
Would some of you like to help define these words in the comments box? Merci!
comme si de rien n'était
je vais faire un tour
Attendez une minute
ça me dit quelque chose
il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse
ce sont nos chiens! = those are our dogs!
à côte de lui
ils sont là
Braise, left, and her dashing, doting, date for the night in Marseilles.
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MAP of the Misadventurers' path
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety