A child voice echoing over the square as she waves with exuberance to her grand-père. Little blond girl with hair in pigtails and a bright turquoise t-shirt, skin baked brown from the summer sun. As I sit here reading CHOCOLAT, I look up and think with certitude that the stuffed bunny in her hand is called Pantouflé.
French... I love the way it rolls off the tongue and into the Heart.
The last couple of days I've been in train stations and tourist spots... Enjoying every kilometer, but also missing the sound of French. Instead of the soft swells of my newly adopted language, it's been Dutch, English, German, Arabic.... I miss the French.
Did I mention I am IN France as I write this? I look past the young girl who brought French back into my orbit and see cobbled medieval streets. My white wine sweating from the summer heat.
Funny how a language can disappear, even among its own villages, with the invasion of flip-flop clad masses for the summer.
I almost resent them.
It's beautiful to hear the twang of a Texan accent ordering salllllmon... And charming to hear the Dutch woman next to me discuss whether to order caramel with sea salt macaroons or vanilla. It makes me smile to hear the Afrikaans words of complaint at the exorbitant prices of Saint-Emillion wines. And it makes me long for a sliver of the beaches of home to hear a Californian squeal with delight at a medieval tower.
Stunning the power of words and the sound of them.