What a summer.
Last night we invited our neighbors over for a barbecue. Damien, our gardener, manned the fire. Jules took care of drinks.
Along with the farmers, their wives and their children, came the girls from across the road. You’ll recall THAT storyline, dear reader. This has been a summer of awakening for the teenagers. For the first time since we’ve been here – 14 years – our boys have noticed our neighbors’ girls. Every summer before, we would only see them in church, lined up in pretty dresses…quiet…polite… We exchanged kisses, in the French manner, after the mass, but that was it. Otherwise, we never saw them.
“This is a summer the boys aren’t likely to forget,” began their older brother at breakfast this morning. “They all went down to the pond after dinner last night. I went down to say hello, but after a few minutes, I felt out of place. It was pretty hot down there.”
Yes, the girls have grown up. And so have the boys. Back and forth, all the month of August. Playing tennis and swimming in the daytime. Having dinner and hanging out at the pond at night.
“It’s a lot of fun,” our youngest boy, 15, reported earlier in the week. “But it’s complicated. We all seem to like someone else…but not the one who likes us. Eloise likes Henry, but Henry likes Claire. Claire likes me, I think, but I like Sylvie. I don’t know who Jules likes, but I think all the girls like him.”
Last night, however, it looked as though the iron filings were finally lining up. Your editor went down to the pond at 2AM; it was time to take the girls home, he told them.
“I don’t care if the girls want to stay or not. Take them home.”
The boys obeyed. But it was obvious that none of them wanted to leave. Edward had one of the girls by the arm. Henry and another were deep in conversation on the other side of the fire. Jules was nowhere to be seen.
It was the last time they would see each other until next summer. The girls would go back to their lives in Paris or elsewhere. Our boys would go back to school or on to their careers. Tonight was their last night together. The goodbyes were long…and, probably, tender.
“C’mon…get going,” their father told them, heartlessly. “Wrap it up.”
for The Daily Reckoning Australia