“James” had not been a international traveller. He had never been to Europe until he visited France for the first time at age 29. Subsequently, he would find himself in various encounters with other Americans in Europe.
One example was a retired soldier who truly inspired him:
“I parachuted near here on D-Day,” he announced.
Another was an expat who left him feeling puzzled:
“We’re from L.A.,” she said. “My husband works in Paris, and we’re on vacation. He had to go to the States for a time by himself. I thought the boys would like to see Normandy.” She concluded as one of her sons gestured restlessly that he wanted to sit on her lap and she waved a hand trying to dissuade him.
And another was a study abroad student who turned him off totally:
“Natalie,” James interrupted in turn, “this Amber isn’t really an average American girl, trust me. She sounds demented.”
He hadn’t really made an American friend while he was abroad.
Time for another “sneak peek.”
In Distances, early on “James” is spending much of his time in Paris trying to fit in. However, he finds himself increasingly at ease with his upstairs neighbor from Boston, “Brad,” who is a decade older and has been working in Paris for over a year. Initially suspicious of the research doctor, since their first meeting “James” has come to feel he can unwind, share experiences, and even fears, with this fellow American that he doesn’t dare reveal to French friends.
In this case, as if Paris is a world away and not just down some flights of stairs, they knock back beers in “James’s” St-Germain-de-Prés apartment. Their increasingly inebriated blathering opens focusing largely on women. NOTE: There is vulgarity and use of the full “F word” in this “sneak peak”:
Have a good Friday! The weekend is just around the corner. 🙂
I may have a beer myself later.
But they’ll be no blathering! 😉