It’s rained part of almost every day since we’ve been back. Spring creeps, inexorably, but it’s a slow, soggy slog. It’d make me feel hopeless, except that the fact that I’m always hoping for the sun to come out does actually leave me in a perpetual state of mild hopefulness.
I’m no longer used to the rain, to the grisaille, that silver drizzle that goes on forever. Beppo and Zazou spend all day indoors keeping dry by napping on the polar fleece blanket, then burn calories and the midnight oil by chasing each other around the house all night. These are cats that normally sleep on our beds, and keep approximately the same bedtime hours we do, so you know things are off kilter.
I walk to the post office, hiding the letters under my cardinal red waterproof parka and think about how I’d never be able to wear that jacket in France. Whether or not this is a good thing I cannot decide. On the one hand, it’s a delicious freedom to be perfectly scruffy in public, when everyone else will be too. On the other hand, I’ve never felt so chic as when I lived in France, even though we lived in one of the poorest areas in the country, just because French women always make an effort when it comes to looks, and don’t hesitate to show their work, and that too has its own allure.
Today I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen since we came back to the island. She immediately, being partly French herself, gave me three kisses. I realized then and there that one of the things I miss the most from our French life is those bisous, the ritual kisses that one gives and receives all day long in France. I loved being surrounded by kisses, and miss them almost as much as the cheeks on which I used to bestow them. On one of my first days back I automatically tried to kiss a small group of old friends. In general they jumped back hastily, or giggled. One told me bluntly “we don’t kiss in America.”
We’re living a life where there’s a drought of kisses and it’s pouring down rain. What is wrong with this picture?