a kiss on each cheek
I’ve said my last goodbyes. I’ve gone into the town square, into the old bar to say goodbye to my friends working as waitresses. I’ve gone to the kitchen window of the new restaurant to say goodbye to my friends working as chefs.
My friend leans out the window in chef whites, kisses my cheeks at least four times, hugs me tight, and stares into my face with love.
I've spent the last four summers here. You get to know the people in the dark hours of the night, drinking in some field or somebody’s kitchen, talking, smoking, dancing and losing yourself in the night’s sky.
My week here has gone by quickly. I barely had time to unpack my suitcase, let alone grow too comfortable.
But I’m grateful for the card games and vodka, for the stars, for the long walks, for the sweet green plums, for the three-hour lunches, for the mosquito net around my bed and for last night’s festival.
This morning I woke up in the back of a car, the light spilling through the window. In the front seat lay a young man, and an empty bottle of gin on the dashboard.
We spent the night at Vaour, my favorite festival of the summer, and spent the night to avoid drunk driving.
I turned my head from side to side, realized I had no hangover, and stumbled down the field to buy croissants for everyone.
It was a good night. I danced like a fool to a live band outside a church, lights strung everywhere, wine and beer in plastic cups circling around. I giggled feverishly at my own jokes and took off on walks when no one was looking.
I even kept my emotions intact while I watched my ex lock eyes and lips with a girl, seated directly across from me. I cursed him, his beauty, his talent, his Jim Morrison hair and his inability to communicate, and then decided to move on.
Thank god for friends that can wrap their arms around you and tell you they’ll miss you, whether they’re aware of how fragile you’re feeling or not.
In the past week I’ve realized I can never be too sure of myself or the way events will unfold. Life isn’t perfect, and neither am I. The city made me strong, but the country still makes me soft.
And now it’s time to say goodbye, or aurevoire, to pick myself up and pack my bags, because after all this time, I’m on my way home.