Thursday, May 05, 2005

She said she was from Oklahoma and going home. Yep. It seemed so clear now: She was a pristine thing from the deep Midwest. But why the French? She'd gone there for a year, to Norman's sister city Clermont. She loved it and didn't want to leave. She tried to change her ticket but her parents came over and dragged her back. She loved the people, loved her friends, had a boyfriend, had a favorite restaurant where she ate all the time, still writes letters and postcards to all the people there and they all write her back. It all cast doubt on her Norman friends she said, who seemed shallow by comparison. Who perhaps resented her worldly ways. She spoke French she said, yeah. Didn't hang out with the Americans in her group, not at all. Threw herself into that new old world and she was glad she did. Would she go back? She's dying to but she's got a boyfriend in Norman. I'm in a relationship, she said. Such a phrase, both innocent and adult. He doesn't want to go anywhere. She said, Chris, you might have to let me go, we might have to visit, if this thing with us is going to work. So now I saw how young she was of course, how far she was beyond the reach even of my dreams. More than that she was an innocent in the best sense, clear-minded, full of love and uncomplicated desire. An American girl in France.