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Archive for August, 2011

Enchantment - Reggie Cragin

Rozsa’s weekly book excerpt

From Paris Adieu (2011) by Rozsa Gaston

I seethed as I made my way upstairs.  Thousands of miles from New York City and here I was, again dealing with flighty man problems.

The next morning I bumped into Marceline in the kitchen, all eight months along of her. She waddled toward the counter where I sat, coffee cup in hand.

“And how was the weekend?” she asked, looking curious.

“It was good,” I said, avoiding her eyes.

“Then why so sad?” she followed up. She was right. I was in the dumps.

It wouldn’t do to punch a pregnant woman. In any case, it was Arnaud I wanted to hit.  I was still confused about our conversation curbside the evening before.

“Marceline?”

“Yes?” She looked surprised to hear me address her by name.

Dove of Peace - Reggie Cragin

“What does “tu me manqueras” mean?

She smiled.

“I will miss you,” she explained.

“But doesn’t it mean “you will miss me?” I asked, confused. That’s what it had sounded like.

“It’s a common mistake.  In English you put yourself first. But in French you put the other person first.  It’s like “Ça me plaît.”

“What do you mean?”

I mean you say “I like that,”  in English, but we say “Ça me plaît — that pleases me.”

“So do you mean to say if I say ‘tu me manqueras’ it means ‘I’ll miss you’ even though it sounds like ‘you will miss me?'”

Exactement.” The grin widened on her face.

“And what does ‘tu me manqueras énormément’” mean? I asked, although it was pretty clear. I just needed a native French speaker to confirm it.

“Is that what he said to you?”

I blushed. “I’m just asking what it means.”

“Right. It means “I’ll miss you a lot —  enormously.”

“Oh.” I stared into my coffee cup.

“Did he go somewhere?”

I nodded.

“For how long?”

“Ten days to two weeks.”

“Oh.”  She took a deep sip of her coffee with milk. “That’s not so long.”

“It seems long to me.”

“Try waiting nine months.”

I looked at her and laughed. She had a point. “You’re almost there, Marceline. It will all be worth it in a few weeks’ time.”

“If I can wait this long then you can wait two weeks.”

Woman with Pearl - Jean-Baptiste Corot (1858)

“But what if he doesn’t call?”

“That depends on you.”

“What do you mean?”

“How did you leave it with him?”

“I — uh — I was sort of mad.” I shook my head, thinking of our dust-up on the sidewalk.

“Were you mean to him?” Marceline asked enthusiastically.

“Uh — malheureusement, oui — unfortunately, yes.”

“Très bien,” she approved. “He’ll call.”

What was that supposed to mean? What if I’d been all nice and accommodating?  No problem, Arnaud. Call me when you get back, whenever that might be. That would be a guy’s fantasy, right? I steamed, just thinking about it.

“But I wasn’t very nice to him” I explained.  “I was angry because he hadn’t said anything about going away until we got back from the weekend.”

“What were you expecting him to do? Say something before you went away and risk not having you come?”

“I – I guess not.”

“You have to understand his point of view. He wanted something and he needed to make sure he was going to get it.”

“Just like a man,” I agreed, disapprovingly.

Oui. Just like a man, naturellement.” Marceline didn’t look disapproving, just instructive. “And now it is your chance to behave just like a woman.”

“Meaning?”

“You scratch. You kick. You meow. Finally, you leave.  Shut the door in his face. Bouf.” She gestured violently as if slapping someone in the face.

“Wow.” I studied Marceline with new respect. She might look like an overripe watermelon but she knew her moves.

From Paris Adieu (2011) by Rozsa Gaston

Artwork inquiries, contact Reggie Cragin at rockmanjazz@yahoo.com.

What glass of wine would you sip while contemplating this quote?

“She knew how to allure by denying, and to make the gift rich by delaying it.” – Anthony Trollope

When I think rich, I think red.  A 2007 Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon from The Magnificent Wine Co. of Columbia Valley would do nicely.  The grapes are grown on the East side of Washington State’s Cascade Mountains.  At $13 a bottle, this vintage provides a cascade of satisfying, full-bodied flavor.

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