"Europe 2004-05" story # 43

Mazamet, France           March 28, 2005

Heyy, guys. Here's a quick note from the author ...
     (author's note: This story takes place mostly in Mazamet, France. The last one took place in Mimizan. Coincidence? Or, is it merely just another conspiracy by the government? I'll let you decide.)

While hitchhiking the small roads of France, I twice splurged and got beds at youth hostels. "Je sui venu pour faire la fete," I said in Bordeaux. (I came here to go partying.)
     Bordeaux was just another big city with old churches. But, at nighttime, it had girls. French girls.
     There's some sort of voodoo spell cursing me on the continent of Europe. The ol' Breen smile-and-charm just doesn't seem to work on girls here. And when I have good opportunities and the mood is right (the mood's important), the government always gets involved and ruins things for me. My confidence needs a boost.
     At a Bordeaux bar, a mildly irritating song came on. A tan-skinned, paunchy, crazy girl drunk on champagne instructed me that we were supposed to dance the "Zuc" to it. She said, "C'est une danse sexy." (It's a sexy dance.) And it was. She moved her paunchy body to excite. She was French, but her parents had been Italian and Tunisian. In the ways that she was beautiful, she was beautiful like a wild horse.
     I remained the rest of the night with her and her two friends. The friends wore smart black and loose shirts revealing bare left shoulders. We teased and danced. The girls were a little too wild for me, but that's not a complaint.
     They seemed like nice and fiendly girls, really they did. But, by two a.m., and without wanting to, I had spent all my money to buy us champagnes. There seemed to be some manipulation going on, done by a shrewd sweet-faced businesswoman with her left shoulder showing. I had been invited to join them in going to a club later, but they told me I couldn't go 'cause I had no money.
     I left not knowing how sincere our fun in the bar had been, but it's no big thing. Maybe I ought to stay away from city girls.
     Or get more money.

So, I next tried going out in Mazamet, pop. 50,000.
     In the "Cafe de la Paix" (Peace Cafe), I saw a girl I would've made war for. Her thin, naturally bronze body wore a white V-neck t-shirt in the way a superheroine would. Maybe she need Super-Laying-On-The-Beach-Man to come save her? (I had on my shirt from Fiji.) Her soft face showed indications of self-certainty and a clever sense of wit. Her longish hair was the color of dark leaves in the scary forest of Mazamet's "Black Mountains" surroundings. She wore it up in a messy nest which haphazard strands shot out from: the un-neat hair-style which only French girls pull off so well. I went over to her.
     -- I don't approach girls like I used to. There was a time when I thought it was fun as hell to go meet a cute girl. Well, I still cherish it. But, nowadays, my conversation seems boring, and I don't smile so much. I seem to go in with little optimism. --
     "Comment cet va?" I leaned against the bar with my grapefruit juice. She didn't seem very interested in me at first, but at least I had her attention. My conversation was good. We began talking about our childhoods, and I told excitedly of games of Breen Family Baseball. But, one thing was missing. I wasn't smiling.
     C'mon, Justin! Look who you're talking to!
     This girl, Aude, had a face of marbles. Little cheek muscles bubbled when she was smiling. Her brown eyes growled and scratched at you beyond the contrasting bronze skin. Curled bangs were continuously falling over her eyes. One tiger-eyed smile from her would've made most people smile for days.
     My ol' Breen smile didn't stop after that. Beautiful Aude pointed wild eyes and white, happy teeth at me. Her delicate touch grazed me a lot, which always happens when talking to the romantic French. She introduced me to her friends.
     Two a.m. arrived shortly thereafter. They were going to go to the only area nightclub, and we said good-bye. Now - I usually don't invite myself places, but sometimes it's gotta be done. Super-Laying-On-The-Beach-Man has to be aggressive sometimes. "Aude! Je peux venir avec vous?" (Aude? Can I come with you guys?) We rode to the club.
     The club played a lot of rotten music. But, that's not why I'd come. Aude and I hung out by the dance floor, cracking each other up. I showed her the funky weird traditional ways people dance in Thailand and Ghana. I explained American booty-dancing to her and said she'd be shocked to see it. I half-demonstrated how American girls bend their bodies way forward and stick their backsides on guys and bump their butts around. Aude laughed and told me to never ever do that again.
     She danced like she was running through dense forest in slow-motion. I pulled out my dance, which is kind of a calm bee-bop groove thing. "Ah, tu danses cool," she said. (Ah, you do the cool dance.) The French people pronounce "cool" in a really hip way. It had been a long time since I'd had so much fun with a girl I'd just met.
     A slow song came on, and I asked if she wanted to dance. She shook her head.
     "Une danse slow, cet va dire beaucoup a moi. (Dancing slow with someone means a lot for me.) Mon coeur est en Canada." (My heart is in Canada.)
     Aude revealed she has a Canadian boyfriend. So, if war was going to have to be made, it was going to be made on Canada.

"Blame Canada!!!" - Stan's Mom (Southpark: The Movie)

Aude hadn't seen her boyfriend in six months. I felt sad for her. We had a conversation about love, which was nice. Her advice to me was that, while single, one has to "profites de la vie" (profit from life).
     Aude said her parents were her only family. She only really had one friend: Maude, who stood beside us. I wished she had more friends.
     I told her we'd exchange e-mails, and any time she wanted to leave France she was welcome to come visit me.
     My invitation made her smile as we danced. Her brown marble eyes bronzed lightning. Her mouth was happy like a winter fireplace. She seemed to be saying, "Thanks, Super-Lying-On-The-Beach-Man. That might be something I'd really like."
     It was a great night. The voodoo curse still hasn't been broken. But, I'll be ready for the next beautiful stranger.

Peace Out! - Modern Oddyseus

Thanks to Patrice; Steven; Sebastien; Fabian; Pierre; Joel; Raymond-Pierre; Lors; William; Emily & Jesus; Tony; Cyril & Emily; Mael; Jon & Susanne; Julien; and Jean-Louis for the rides!
Much thanks to Klara, Martina, & Rosa; and Cyril for the places to stay!

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