Isle Sur la Sorgue, France
We arrive in Avignon - actually, Isle sur la Sorgue, a small town just outside of Avignon - just as it starts to drizzle. Marie's parent's live in a cozy terra cotta house with a cherry farm. Marie has her mom's blueness of eyes and her dad's smoldering intensity. It's raining steady and Marie wants to go into town to get her uncle a book for his birthday party tonight. Neither the car nor a ride is offered by the parents. Our inability to use the car was an issue with Marie before we even left Paris. Marie now, I feel, wants to press the issue and walk to town to prove some sort of point to her parents about their unreasonableness. She wants me to go along to punctuate her point. I'm fine working on my book I tell her. She gets me an umbrella. We're 16 again proving points to unreasonable parents walking to town in the pouring rain. Halfway there with soaked feet and pants I tell her that I'll gladly go back to Paris on the TGV - the fastest train in the world - if the next ten days will be like this. We fight. The rain comes down harder. She stomps off through the downpour and I follow along like a wet dog. An hour later we return home drenched.
That night at the birthday party we snack on an assortment of sardines and anchovies cleverly disguised as edible food as everyone wants to know why I don't drink and what I could be writing a book about at 36. I tell Marie to tell them that I used to be a stripper in New Orleans and that alcohol makes me violent. She glares at me. Then the entire party of ten or so takes a whack at saying my name as everyone laughs: CORNEEY! ROONEEY! CROONEEY! COREEEY! And Marie points to her uncles man purse and tells him that I think that only homosexuals wear them in America. HE looks me stern in the face and tells me: I AN NUT AN OMOSEXUAL! I smile and eat an anchovy disguised as a nut cluster.