21 November 2010


[Friendly donkey. Saint German des Angles, France.]

What's wrong with feeling young and restless.

Taking 2 hour naps on someone else's front lawn
and not wanting to settle down until you
don't feel so wild anymore
or wanting to speak a different language for a while
because then maybe things would start to make a little more sense.

What's wrong with telling lies just to be nice--
"I love that sweater on you."
And learning that people are just people
all over--everywhere
and that they all expect nothing less
and want nothing more
than to be loved.

How about walking everywhere
because driving is so 2005
and then knowing that your feet are going to hurt after
all that walking.

What's wrong with never finding the one song
that says just what you're feeling
so writing your own, but never showing anyone
and maybe singing it to yourself
after everyone has gone to bed.

What's wrong with just feeling free:
Calling someone and hanging up
Throwing water balloons at a stranger
Driving a little too fast
Eating two pieces of cake.

Because, after all, aren't we all just kids?

15 November 2010

France, Adventure No. 34

Dimanche, 17 Octobre.

A lot of men ride the trains at night.

It was the first time I had felt really alone, there in the station with my red overcoat buttoned up to the top and my shoulder bag mounted firmly on the bench beside me.

There was one who paced the gum-spotted platform, peering at me every so often through his unkempt facade with these sad eyes that belong only to those who know what it's like to perhaps sleep on a sidewalk or to eat someone's cast-off Egg McMuffin for breakfast. But his ratty beard and feral appearance were the least of my worries.

A young man, 26 or so, had already invited himself to take a seat beside me; an action that prompted me to grip my book tighter and pour over it more intently. But not because it was nighttime and I was alone, but because this particular fellow wreaked of wine-coolers--or anyway, that tell-tale odor of having been drinking steadily since 5. He leaned in too close and in his blurry French, asked me where I was going, where I was living, and, incidentally, "Est-ce que vous voulez dormir chez moi ce soir?" I politely declined and shoved him on his way.

Almost immediately, another, older, and on the verge of a drunken stupor, sat down in his place and promptly began to sing about liberty or something. I never really got a good look at him, but I do recall with perfect clarity the filthy tennis shoes he wore, which had obviously seen too many winters; their Nike symbol faded to a depressing brownish-blue. He kept up his song for a good 10 minutes and drank at intervals from an over-sized soda can--clearly the source of his musical courage.

As we boarded the 21h25, I found myself hunting for the most deserted seat to take, where no one might seek me out to ask about my life or my American accent. I suppose I also hoped to avoid further encounters involving invitations to sleepovers or unsolicited drunken serenades.

I sat down at the furthermost window seat and attempted to decipher some of the graffiti etched into the thick glass window that the winter air had made icy. Letting my mind toy with the idea that loneliness isn't necessarily a bad thing, and that sometimes it's just what a girl needs, I unbuttoned my coat, reopened my book, and read all the way home.