I was seventeen that summer.
She came to a party at a friend’s house and we all talked in
whispers about her. She had brown hair, green eyes and a face
that warmed when it called you stupid. She shared a kitchen table
chair with me as I played drinking games with a straight Coke.
She took me outside and talked to me in her broken English and
smoked Belvederes. I translated drunken people talking high school
French to her and a friend told me that it was on.
We played mini golf a couple days later and she was mine by the
eighteenth hole. I told her about my life and taught her about
shotgun and Nanaimo car rituals. She told me little and taught
me about seventeen-year-old girls. I took her to work and my boss
stared at her. He told me later, “You just want to blow it when
they talk that French to you, don’t you?” She didn’t talk much
French to me, but admired the way I said, “Crème sucre.” She liked
the sound of the word “idiot.” I made her laugh.
She’s the reason I believe all French girls are named Sophie.
They all like Peanut Butter and taste like American cigarettes.
They all have boyfriends named Sliver, but pronounce them slee-vay.
“Like this,” she said, as the fingers on her left hand picked
his name from her right. She told me she wouldn't miss me, because
of Sliver, and not to eat my lips.
I loaned her an itchy grey sweater that she took with her. It
fit her better anyway. I wrote her twice. The first was about
nothing. The second was about the World Cup and how I sat by the
television looking for her face in the throngs of people wedged
into downtown Paris. I saw her at least a million times. She never
wrote back. Since then I've been strong.
Craig Battle knows
rampant truth. Rip your fucking face off.