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The Charming Mountain Goat – Betrayal Part 2

July 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

It has been nearly five weeks since Émile’s betrayal hit our quartier and he moved from his house and family next door to live with Paloma, the young neighbour opposite. Our little corner of the village is a little deserted this summer.

Several observations have been quite astounding.

In one way or another, we have all been very upset about what has happened and in our own ways we have communicated this to each other without ever talking about what happened.

Francine, la maman des chats, caught Lovely Husband and myself sitting outside a few days ago and came over to chat. If you knew Francine in person and were aware of the way in which she behaves, you would not have been surprised if she had brought up the subject in a very direct manner straight away.

Instead, she was performing one of her little dances, chatting in her cryptic language that involves a lot of colloquiums, hand movements and noises. She pulled a camera out of her pocket to take a photograph of us while saying: “You are such nice people and you always have such nice people staying with you. ONLY nice people, not like some other people.” This was repeated a few times without any particular references to anyone, but we all understood.

Sandrine, the merry widow across the road, prefers to talk to men. Any men of any age. Many times I have been standing close to Lovely Husband attempting to take part in their conversation and I have ended up walking off because she just ignored me. She always has a special smile for the men. Last week, while talking to Caroline, Émile’s wife, Sandrine greeted me warmly.

The Reischs, the retired couple across the road who are direct neighbours of Paloma (and now Émile) have carried on in their usual busy, loud French way. Alexandre, the husband is noisy, opinionated and likes to chat. He has very definite ideas about everything from homemade orange jam to the best French cheese. Contradict him at your own peril.

I bumped him not long after it was clear and public what had happened. He was in a rush, but strangely quiet, looking me straight in the eye searchingly. He was upset and wanted some comfort: “I promised you the sauce we had at our get-together. You MUST come and see me, so I can give it to you. Don’t let me forget.” I understood and let him know that I did.

Not a single scrap of gossip! Because although it was never expressed or set in writing, there is code of conduct that rules our quartier. We share our food, wine, cakes, company, empathy, wood, tools, listening ears and whatever other things are needed. But we never ever share our husbands or wives.

Meanwhile, Caroline carries herself with great dignity and grace. She has taken to running early in the mornings, lost a lot of weight, looks beautiful each day and keeps smiling. She made the gesture of a knife being turned in her stomach, but remains positve. I am sure she cries a lot, but the tears cannot be detected.

She tells me she has cut her running time from 40 minutes down to 35 over the last few days. A personal best.

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