In contrast to past entries I know exactly how long this one is going to be because I only have half an hour left at this cybercafé before all my change will disappear into its gaping maw.
I said goodbye to Roger this morning. He went to Paris. The night before, he slept fitfully and talked to me every few minutes, like a kid on the night before the first day of kindergarten. He hates big cities and was terrified of getting lost. He was originally going to transfer in Paris to go up to Tours and see les chateaux de la Loire, but reserving a ticket all the way to Tours would have required a transfer between two stations in Paris within 40 minutes, enough to strike fear into the heart of a backpacker far more experienced than Roger or me. So I convinced him to stay in Paris awhile. He’ll be fine, he’ll charm the Parisians with his Bas St-Laurent accent just like he charmed the Nimois. Like he charmed me.
The apartment seems a bit empty without him in it after he stayed for a week, although it will be easier to sleep without having two people in a bed (le lit, which Roger with his accent pronounces ‘lit’ as in ‘I lit the lamp’ rather than ‘lee’ as the rest of the French-speaking world says it) meant for one! I gave the house a good clean this morning…I used to be the Queen of the Slobs but having my own place has made me really house proud and I try to clean once a week.
It was a turbulent week. From the beginning, when he came down the stairs from the two-hours-late train and into my arms, I was happy to hear his voice and smell that aftershave he always wears. We had some great adventures here in Nimes, in Carcassonne, Avignon and Remoulins. But we also went at it a few times. I was supposed to go to Lyon this weekend to meet Professor K, my project manager for Burundi. For some reason Roger was kind of bothered by this, and nothing could make him believe I wasn’t going up to Lyon for a romantic liaison. One night he made a few really disturbing racist comments about “des criss de gros Noirs.” But the next night he grabbed me and held me fast as if we were dancing the blues and said “I’m sorry for yesterday.”
I’m not sure what to do, but I think I will soon be single, not because of his political views but because of my nomadism. Before we went to bed last night (after dancing our legs off at a rockabilly bar full of middle-aged French people in poodle skirts, 50s hairdos and Confederate flag denim jackets) he said, “Can you believe this might be the last time we’ll ever sleep together in our lives?” So there you go.
The rest of the story will have to wait.