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life can be so simple

published: 2014-08-07

While waiting for our meals, my son and I entertain ourselves by studying the Von Trapp-type family at the large table next to ours. We count 7 kids of all ages and 2 pairs of grown-ups. Who belongs to who? They drink, eat, laugh and talk in that picture perfect way we have all had a vision of at some stage in our lives. The large family, big table, sunny weather, good food and wines. On top of it, they actually do speak German and their cheeks are sun-kissed.
We’ve just about decided the blood ties when I finally notice the man standing behind them. He’s been waving his celphone at me all that time, I realize this in hindsight. He wants to take a photo? Of me and my son? Sure, I gesture, why not. For a second, it makes me feel a whole lot better about myself. Not only the family Von Trapp’s-type life looks appealing.
But the man then comes right up to us and presses a folded piece of paper on the table, in front of my plate. I notice his hands, first and foremost. Short fingers for such a tall man. Dirty too. In a blur I register something of a greyish beard, shockingly blue eyes that look at me intently, as if he’s in a desperate emergency and in need of my help and I have to act quick.
Call me, he says, but then in French.
I can feel myself going crimson while both this man and my son look at me and no doubt the family Von Trapp is watching too. How do I make clear: “sure, take a picture”, not “sure, give me your number”? I laugh and wave my hand towards my son. Call you? Impossible, I’m with my son.
The man says that my son will sleep. I laugh even harder hoping he’ll laugh too. See? You’re making me blush, I say.
He says it doesn’t matter. Call me, he repeats anxiously.
My son asks what this man wanted and so I tell him: he wants me to call him.
This doesn’t seem to make any impression on my son. It’s only when strolling home that he candidly states I cannot call this man as we are on holiday and I don’t have a babysitter.
Why on earth does he think I’d want to call this strange French man?
He shrugs his bony little shoulders and says maybe I fell in love with him. Or thought he was handsome.
Life can be so simple. When you’re eight.

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