We were sitting in the kitchen,
and she had been nagging me about throwing a party for my birthday.
But I wasn't really interested.
Too much stuff going on, you know?
The kids at my school where getting around.
I was still, and it totally depended on who you would ask, "The Foreigner", "The Crazy French Guy",
"The Guy with the accent" or "The Sexy looking foreign kid with the erotic accent",
but I was no longer an outsider anymore.
They tried to involve me more in their lives, and slowly I was building up my circle of friends.
I hung out with them, had dated a few girls, but it was nothing really serious.
I also was missing my "French" life.
Moving to a new country seems to be not a big deal.
Once you learn the language, you should be able to get around.
There are times that you feel completely lost.
It feels like somebody took a big eraser and erased your brain.
I was used to meters, grams and liters.
Here people where talking about feet, pounds and ounces.
Even the simplest things became a tour that needed some preparation.
I was used to go to a local store, and buy some candy.
Here it became a whole operation.
A dollar? How much is a dollar anyway?
My brain had been programmed to French Francs.
I knew exactly how much something was worth, but here I felt lost.
5 Francs equals 1 Dollar right? And a dime is a Dollar divided by 10?
So a dime is 5 Francs divided by 10, meaning that it is 50 centimes.
No wonder I was exhausted all the time.
It felt like being on vacation.
You have a pile of strange money, and have no clue what something is worth.
It gets even worse if you add all the other things that I had to deal with.
They sold little boxes of Nerds.
Nerds? What the hell is that? And how much is 1.65 ounce?
Curly Wurly bar? It looked delicious but it didn't ring a bell to me.
And that my friends, was the biggest problem.
Nothing rang any bell to me.
"Owh but I am sure that your friends would love to come over for a party, we still can throw one." my mom smiled.
Sure they would, but I wasn't sure if I wanted them to come over.
I still was dealing with the fact that my mom was cheating on my dad,
having a party at my house was the last thing that I wanted.
I felt trapped.
Life should have been easy, but I was trapped in lies and deceit.
My mom could come home from doing groceries,
but all I could think was "Where have you really been?"
"You can also invite some girls... if you want to." Mom continued.
"I have seen some of the girls in your class. They seem very nice and they’re all beautiful."
I frowned, was this a way of trying to figure out if I was having a girlfriend?
No idea, but I convinced her not to do anything for my birthday,
and I can happily say that she didn't.
My mom sighed softly.
"You grew up so fast. Soon you will be dating girls."
I felt a bit uncomfortable.
Was she going to lecture me about relationships?
"Listen carefully Francoise." she said, my mom never calls me Frank.
"I want you to promise me something."
Her face turned serious as she looked at me.
"You are a remarkable young man, and whatever happens in life; Never ever change."
I blushed, what was she doing?
"You look a lot like your father," she smiled,
"Hansom,cute, sexy, smart, and the best husband in the world.
Cherish that Francoise, cherish those qualities cause life can be cruel sometimes."
My jaw slowly dropped.
Did she really sit here, proclaiming her love for dad?
Mom fumbled with the end of the white table cloth that was draped over the kitchen table.
"I know that you euh... suspect things." she whispered, as she glanced at me.
"You're a smart kid. You must have figured out a couple of things by now."
My mouth turned dry, and my heart was pounding up my throat.
Was she trying to tell me what I already knew?
Mom was silent, trying to come up with the right words.
She stared at the table cloth and I could see how she was breathing heavily.
"It's not what you think it is." She whispered. "It's a lot more complicated."
I shoveled on my chair.
My first reaction was to just walk out of this confession.
But that felt like a bad thing to do.
"You are young Francoise, and at some point in your life you might understand us better.
You see..." mom was looking for words.
"You see, sometimes you can have a love that is so deep and pure that it hurts... in a good way I mean.
And your father and I have that kind of love."
If this was true then she sure had a strange way of showing it.
"Sometimes that love is so strong, that you don't want to ruin it by anything."
Mom looked at me, trying to see if I understood what she mend.
"The day that we got married was the best day of our lives." Mom smiled.
"We were so happy, and once we had you it became even better."
I nodded slowly.
"But there where dark clouds on the horizon." mom was whispering now.
"We both had certain feelings... urges... needs, which could not be fulfilled."
Her voice became louder again.
I nodded, how could I forget the town where I was born and raised?
"A beautiful town, but to your father and I, it felt sometimes like a dead trap."
I frowned, and had no idea what she was saying.
Songeons was awesome.
I knew every brick of every house.
I could find my way through town with a blindfold and my hands tied together.
The people where close, and we knew everything about everybody.
No,to me it was the best place on earth.
Mom laughed, "Of course it was.
It was the only place you knew.
For us it was different, we weren't born there."
Again I nodded slowly.
"It's hard to be different in a town that is that close.
I always had the feeling that people where spying on me.
Always felt there eyes burning, and then the questions...
owh my God, the questions."
I snickered, knowing exactly what she mend.
The only times that my mom got mad was when she found out that people had been asking questions.
For me it where just normal questions.
"How's your mom?"
"How was the trip to Paris, bought anything nice?"
"Saw some construction guy's at your house, are you guy's expanding?"
"Owh no," my mom cried.
"They were fishing, I guarantee it.
You don't even know half of the stuff."
Mom got silent again, as she recalled those memories.
"Point is that your father and I were trapped.
We tried fulfilling those urges ourselves, but we couldn't.
Remember how I said that you don't want anything to ruin the love you feel?"
I nodded again.
"That was the thing that slowly was killing us.
I had... needs, that your father was not willing to do.
It would destroy my love for him, he said."
I was confused.
What was she talking about?
Needs that could destroy a love?
"Maybe I need to rephrase myself." My mom said after she saw the confused look on my face.
"It would destroy the image I had of him,
it might have even destroyed the respect and trust between us,
and to be honest... I think he was right."
Still it didn't make any sense to me.
"You will learn... someday." Mom smiled.
"Your father had needs too.
Needs that I couldn't fulfill without destroying that image and respect.
But that all changed when we moved here."
Mom's smile got bigger.
"This place saved our marriage."
Now I was completely lost.
It didn't look that way to me.
"In Songeons we were unhappy.
We began to take it out on each other, which wasn't really fair.
It was just a way for us to vent our frustrations."
I dug to my brain to see if I could find any recollections of this,
but my mind was all blank.
"Here we could do what we always where dreaming about.
We could finally fulfill our needs, and be happy again."
I shook my head, this all sounded... strange.
"What are you talking about?"
Mom took a very deep breath, hold it in for a few seconds, and let it slip out saying. "Sex."
I blushed when she said the word, it was strange but I did.
Mom chuckled a bit, but refounded herself immediately.
"Sex Francoise. The most powerful thing in the world."
Mom straightened her back.
"You know how people say that sex is not the most important thing in a relationship?"
"They lie Francoise.
Sex is the most important thing.
It's the glue that holds the pieces together,
it's the equalizer that smooth’s everything out,
but most importantly... It's the biggest love builder that there is."
"Without sex, everything will be blown out of proportion.
Money issues? Hah, they mean nothing when you have a good sex life.
But without it, it slowly grows like a mean cancer, and destroys you.
You don't always clean up your dirty laundry right?"
My trails of clothes where legendary.
If I would take a shower then I already begin to undress myself in my bedroom.
My shirt ends up on bed, my socks somewhere in the hallway,
my trousers would most likely end up in front of the bathroom door,
and my underwear on the bathroom floor.
"If you would be married, and your sex life would be great, then it might be a small annoying "Francoise Thing".
Your wife might clean it, sigh a bit, but she will do it... with love.
If your sex life is bad, it will slowly turn into a massive annoyance.
She will nag you about it... constantly...
You might be frustrated, because you don't have sex.
She might be frustrated, because you don't have sex.
And at the end you are both sliding down on this downward spiral of frustration.
Don't ever let that happen Francoise."
I nodded again, I did understood this but it didn't explain anything to me.
I looked at my mom.
She was beautiful.
Her face was soft and fragile.
Her brown hair waved down to her shoulders.
But to me she was old.
Someone that is 40, like my mom, looks old when you are my age,
and as we all know; Old people don't have sex.
"But why are you cheating on dad?"
Finally I popped the question that had been burning inside me for the last year.
"I'm not." my mom smiled.
I was shocked.
If she wasn't cheating, then what the hell was she doing for the last two years?
"Your dad knows about this." mom continued.
My eyes popped out, and for a second the world turned black.
"Dad knows you are doing this?"
"You see Francoise.
We give each other the space we need, to explore our urges."
I shook my head.
I couldn't believe this, no way that this was happening.
"Wait a sec." I whispered.
"You said WE give each other space?"
"Yes,we both are doing this."
Mom ignored the look on my face.
"Sexually speaking we are quite the match,
but we both have certain things that we like to do.
I won't go into details, but let’s just say that we both like something different once in a while.
We could ignore those feelings, and pretend that we are a happy "normal"couple.
But we would be balancing on the edge of that slippery slope.
So we decided that it would be best to just explore those feelings.
It worked Francoise.
Your dad and I have never been happier in our lives then we are now."
Mom stood up, and walked to the living room.
"Please don't hate us Francoise." she whispered.
I was alone again.
So many thoughts spun through my head.
Sex with others?
Visions flashed before my eyes of my parents engaging in all sorts of orgies.
They are freaks, buzzed inside my brain.
I blushed, and felt ashamed of thinking that.
I knew this wasn't completely true.
I couldn't think of any other couple,
that had more love between them then my parents.
Some couples did, but there always was this fake element to it.
It looked like they were trying a little bit too hard, to show the world how much they loved each other.
My parents had a genuine and sincere love.
A love that looked indestructible
How the hell was I going to deal with this?
How was I supposed to face them every day, knowing what I knew now?
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1988, January, Unraveling Pictures
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1987, November 6, Losing my virginity
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1987 September 7: First Day at College
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