Today is a day I certainly will not forget. For the first time every...I had a family.
Today is Easter (Happy Easter by the way!) and I had just gotten out of the very long sacrament, slightly disappointed in my self for leaving early just because my stomach and head was hurting me. I started to walk home and at one of the intersections, a familiar car pulled up next to me. It was none other than dear Alice and her family. Her father's spread over his smile and her mother aged like fine wine. They rolled down the window. Alice cheerfully got out of the car and kissed my cheek. "Salut! My family and I where just on our way to your church! We where going to invite you over for Sunday lunch... if you do not have plans." Her excitement was clear to me that she knew I did not have any plans, so I could not lie to escape from imposing. "Non, actually. I was heading home.. I am feeling a little under the weather.. I do not think you want someone sick in your home."
"It is fine!" Her mother called from the window. "We have medicine for you!"
"Are you sure?"
"Just get in the car!" The father chuckled. I climbed into the small car and sat next to Alice. I greeted her parents formally and shook their hands. (This is very important to do in France!!!)
"Papa, this is the boy who lived in America!"
"Oh really? How was it?" A nervous wreck, my voice shook as I spoke. "Great. Lovely people..."
"How long where you there?"
"Four or six years?"
"What is wrong with your head, boy?"
"Pardon??" I looked at Alice with wide eyes- lost for words.
"Oh! My hair is naturally white. It is a birthmark." The rest of the ride to their house carried the same small talk conversation.
Once at the house, I quickly got out and opened the door for Alice and her mother. Her father held the door to the house opened and we all entered.
The home was tastefully decorated with a dark leather couch. The house is in neutral colours and dark shades of brown and green. I noticed a large bird mounted to the wall. "Oh! You ...hunt?"
"Oui." He turned to me and watched as I studied the bird. "Your father never took you hunting?"
"Oh...So, you where home with your mother most of the time."
"Non monsieur... My mother passed when I was very young."
"Ah, that is unfortuante." I nodded slightly and turned my focus back to the bird. "You took a very clean shot... there is hardly any damage from the bullet..." I continued the conversation with him about hunting and the bird until lunch was ready.
We sat at the table and prayed for the food set before us.
"Alice has only told us so much about yo-"
"Only so much? Only everyday does she talk about hi-."
"PAPA! It is rude to interrupt maman.." She looked down and blushed. I broke the awkward silence. "What would you like to know?" I smiled. "Tell us about your father, since he can not be here to join us." Monsieur DuPont asked.
I gripped my slacks in my fist. Mon papa is not a great conversation topic...I finally accepted that I would *have* to lie.
"Ah. Well..He is a good man. He has kept me all of these years, so I certainly have nothing against him." They chuckled. "He has a great sense of humor...hard working..humble- can not for get that. Even if he would disagree."
"Do you ever miss him?"
"Oh, all the time. I write him at least once a week. We pass letters back in forth." They smiled and finished the last few bites of their salads. "Tell me about yourselves." I asked her parents.
They told me almost every detail since the few months before their engagement and everything to this day. I sat quietly and nodded. Laughed when every they laughed (wheather I got it or not.)
Once we finished our courses, Madame DuPont, invited Alice in to the kitchen. Monsieur DuPont left to the toilet room. "Is there anything I can do to help, madame?"
"Non, non, not at all."
I sat at the table and heard Alice and her mother talking lowly.
"Alice..I do not think you wish to hear this, but...your friend..I am pretty sure..is gay."
"Maman! You do not know that. He could just be...girly."
'Girly? You could at least call me metro..' I thought as I stacked the plates on the table.
"I want to be with him, Maman." She paused- frustrated with her thoughts. "He is like a prince. He is charming.. sweet..cute.."
"Ma-man!" She went across the kitchen to put the dishes away. She glanced at my through the window.
"Alice, you are as stubborn as your father and nothing I say will change that. If you want to be with him...I will not stop you. He is sweet. Shy...very shy...but sweet. However, I do not want you to be upset and hurt if you find out he is gay."
"I will not get hurt...because he is not gay." She smiled and spun on her heel and left the kitchen. "Join me for a walk?"
Out side we walked around her yard. We looked at the flowers and watched the butterflies. I thought of the conversation she had with her mother...
'I am not ..gay...but I am not interested in girls either..I do not want to be in a relationship. I just want to be...alone. I do not know...what I want. Is it Alice? Of course not. Alice is amazing and sweet and beautiful. What on earth is she wanting with me? I- SMACK! Colored pieces of paper where falling around me. Alice started to giggle. "Happy Easter!" She had smacked a confetti egg onto my head. Her mother was behind her with a camera. I blushed.
"Come one you three! It is time for the family picture!" We headed towards the house. I figured me being there would be conveient for takeing the picture. My artistic mind quickly went to work, trying to decide where to take the picture at and what angel..how close?
We stood in front of the porch. To my surprise, Monsieur DuPont was setting the camera up on a tripod. "Would you like for me to hold that?" I asked. "What? You can't hold it if you are going to be in the picture!"
"Oh, I do not want to ruin your beautiful family Easter photo."
"Nonsense, Fonce. You're part of the family now!" Madame DuPont gestured for me to sit next to Alice.
We sat down on the rock with our knees touching as we sat angled to the camera. Her parents stood behind us.
"Say - FROMAGEEEE!!!" We smiled for the three pictures. "Fonce! Do you want to see the pictures?" Alice brought the camera to me. "Aww...you did not smile." She looked at me disappointingly. "I am sorry. I thought I was smiling.." She smiled. "It's okay, you are one of us now, I am sure we will get plenty of smiling pictures of you in the future...just not today."
'I hate pictures....'
I thought about how welcomed I felt, once they dropped me off at home. It was not much perhaps, but they included me in a precious family moment.. I still feel like I ruined it just for not smiling..but even more for not having an attraction to Alice. What ever the matter, I still hoped to repay them the favor some day.
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