Me: I almost got on the train with him.
Julia: A complete stranger?!
Dani: Was he cute?
We sat at a cafe in Southern France, exchanging what we had done while our Term Abroad program been been on spring break. I had chosen to spend four of the seven days traveling on trains. On the way home, I had almost be diverted by a pair of roguish eyes.
Dani would have gotten on the train. He would have fallen in love with her. All of his traveling companions would have fallen in love with her. Dani was like that. Everyone warmed to her.
Julia would not have gotten on the train. He would have gotten on her train. He’d be here right now. Waiting in cafes while she was in class. Julia made you believe in reincarnation. In another life, she had been royalty. Or commanding general of a large and victorious army.
Then there was me. Trailing along behind these two women like a chunk of dirty ice caught in the slipstream of a comet. When I say I almost got diverted, I exaggerate. I chatted with a young man at the train station while waiting for our respective trains. When his train arrived, he asked me to go with him. I said no.
It never seriously occurred to me to do anything other than come back to class. Was I really that boring a person? I’m not saying I should have, but maybe I could have at least considered it.
Shook self. I was in France. I was sitting on a cafe terrace in the sun. I wasn’t in **** in winter. That wasn’t nothing.
Didn’t like who I was? Then do something about it. The next time opportunity blinked its blue eyes at me, I would act.
Fortunately for me, the next pair of blue eyes belonged to Claude.
Unfortunately for me, right as I was making my resolve to be more adventuresome, the Société de la Perle Bleue was making their plans. Edouard, their leader, was adept at sniffing out just that mix of naivete and recklessness that they could exploit.
I sat staring at my reflection of train window.
I was two days late for classes.
I was going to get yelled at. By the professors. By my host parents. By my parents.
What had I done? What was I thinking?
I don’t know.
It had seemed like such a good idea at the time.
We sat at a cafe in Southern France, exchanging what we had done while our Term Abroad program been been on spring break.
We drank beers.
We reveled at not being in **** in winter.
In the cafe table was a newspaper. Water rings blurred the headline,
Wait I thought you graduated from YYY. What were you doing at ****?
I did graduate from YYY, but I started at ****. During a term abroad, I met this guy at a train station …
~~~ curtain ~~~
Note one. Another hat tip to Liz Goldsmith for the comment a few weeks ago. [Pondering A Fork In The Road, Non-Fiction]
Note two. Unlike last time, no underlying explanation necessary. The multiple storylines are clearly a narrative device. Would be cool if I could get the the strands to intertwine over time. [If I Had Gotten On That Train, Fiction Sketch]