A Summer Abroad
By 16 I could not stop dreaming of faraway places. Romance novels under my bed went unread replaced with European travel guides. I didn't bother to hide these. Instead I left them out in plain view where each would become a marker on my imaginary trek across the world. I devoured them with the same voracious appetite that I had romances. Somewhere someone was waiting to change my life forever. More
“We met in Rome, during her first summer in Europe, when she was looking for something or someone to give her young life meaning. I could not have imagined then, our lives would become intertwined for thirty more summers. It was not logical in any sense that she, seventeen, more child than woman, would have such a profound influence on me, a man of thirty.
As I have told her many times since, she (being the most disagreeable sort of woman) was the most unlikely candidate for becoming my partner. Had she not changed her general disposition, our story might never have been written - for I am someone who lacks a great deal of patience, and one who possesses a decidedly sharp talent for spotting liars.
But, I get ahead of myself, and in doing so, create even more of a mystery. Shall we begin with her version of our story? For I find at this age – I can deny Francesca nothing, even the truth, which as you will soon learn… she re-writes tirelessly.”
- Louie “Arnaud” Bertrand –
By sixteen, I could not stop dreaming of faraway places. The romance novels beneath my bed went unread, replaced with European travel guides. I did not bother to hide these. Instead, I left them out in plain view on my nightstand, where each would become a marker on my imaginary trek across the world. I devoured them cover-to-cover with the same voracious appetite that I had romances. Somewhere in the world, someone was waiting to change my life forever, but this would remain my mystery to solve. Discovering the place, where we might meet, however, required no secrecy.
But, how could I tell my parents that my plan was to fall in love with someone “from that other side of the world”? Following my favorite high school teacher to India might have been too ambitious a plan, but Paris was not. Whatever the unknown in Europe, it had to be better than the known in our small town, where truth hid behind smiles and an over abundance of stretch lace at weddings. By suppertime, I had made up my mind. It was now, or never.
Putting down my fork, I said, slowly and boldly, what I had rehearsed a dozen times. ‘Whatever the truth might be about my life, it is waiting to be written on a blank page… in a place where people don’t predict the future based upon a person’s past.’
Grandmother asked, “What did she say?”
Father, unsure of the meaning of my pretentious declaration, demanded clarification, “Francine, What do you want to do after graduation?”
Without thinking, I answered, “To see this town in my rearview mirror.”
Father dropped his fork.
- Francesca Robinsworth Duchesney –