black beret (2)

That I felt the burning hurt of the sharp slap about my face confirmed my heart still pumped. Reluctant conjoined eyelids fought good reason in their quest for an equitable divorce. Then the soothing touch of a soft, lukewarm palm upon my brow set in motion a myriad of wideawake apparitions.

It was the girl from the Resistance, fabled for her ostensibly permanent black beret, who had somehow found me. I instantly knew it was she by the smell of her ‘Soir de Paris’ eau de cologne…pre the outbreak of war, the budget choice of the proletariat, now the perfume of the few.

Once vision had deigned to make its hesitant appearance I made mental note of her quizzical, perhaps even loving, concern for my well-being, notwithstanding that her face was uncomfortably close to my own. Seeing her thus, the thought struck that the sea of cosmopolitan wild flowers all around reminded me of women without makeup. Untamed beauty bests designed hybrids, always. ‘Frenchie’ as I called her, was the consummate ‘wild flower’.

We never did share our real names on the simple, logical basis that less information was more should one of us ever be the subject of interrogation. Regardless, this bloodthirsty morn it was she who embraced the concept of keeping me alive, over and above any other astute considerations vis a vis her own safety.

I’d met her just the once previous. A bizarre encounter at the end of Brighton’s West Pier on an autumn’s night that favoured grey mist and ghostly lamplight over a bewitched moon and amiable stars. She of perfect English, me similarly in her native tongue, namely that of La Belle France. For reasons of common-sense, given we were both soon to join in the hostilities across La Manche, we decided it best we conversed in la langue française for the main part.

That night we had spoken of covert tactics, landmarks, grenades and landmines, although later, back in the pealing wallpaper, naked light, second rate mattress, second rate breakfast, second rate B&B our Lord’s and master’s had booked us in, in the otherwise quintessentially English village of Portslade our discussions turned to condoms, errors of judgement and sticky accidents. Impressively, she had no qualms in telling it like it was.

“La pure passion du sexe brut emporte l’amour doux faisant en temps de guerre?”

Assuming correctly she had posed a question rather than made a statement, I concurred that “Yes indeed, the sheer passion of raw sex trumps sweet love making in times of war.”

Her enticing, emotionless riposte, “Bon. Ce soir, pas de pensées de romance. Ce soir, nous sommes des animaux,” suited me right down to the lino; wanton manic souls she and I would be…and rest assured we were.

Scroll forward three months. As of the moment she was stood over me, legs astride my crippled body, hands on hips shaking her head in despair, and in that séductrice accent she never did realize was a trademark that turned any red-blooded male’s legs to jelly, she, as a clinical matter of fact, advised, “The Gestapo are on their way. It is inconceivable that I carry you off to a safe house, the closest one is at least ten kilometres away. All I can do, given your condition, is to put you out of your misery. Better that than torture. Sorry it has to be this way.”

Ever the professional, Frenchie did not favour me with the opportunity of agreeing or otherwise. A single bullet to the temple. I had always believed that a curtain call was not necessarily the final bow. C’est la vie.

50 thoughts on “C’EST LA VIE

    1. Cheers, young Ms Lee. I cheated to an extent. The original was far too long…hence a mercy killing. Having said that I’m likely ‘Frenchie’ rather a lot. I really must check you posts out…I’ve been cursed by what I thought was a virus on this PC yet, the techinal words are beyond me, it was something vile types send out to simply mess with the computer. Net result I’m miles behind with everything, plus I lost all my passwords etc. Deep joy…not!

      1. Oh no, Sir! Well here’s hoping there’s cosmic justice for the rats nibbling upon your data. In the meantime, don’t worry about my Whole30 posts, as they’re mostly me whinging on and on about life. 🙂
        (I believe I used that term correctly…)

      1. Sadly not, Cynthia. Splendid indeed that so many travelled to London. Will it help the Remain cause especially so given the millions who also signed the petition? I’m not sure, yet live in hope the good gals and guys win the day.

  1. A very clever coming together of this story 🙂

    I have experienced now the same as you have, by trying to follow someone, and trying up to 3 times, and it doesn’t take. WP is a big place, and it is easy to lose track of folks when that happens 😦 I hope they fix it

      1. Still we’ve made some interesting and friendly connections here. So I trudge on.
        Yes, thank you, we are well–more than last time we spoke. Dad is better. How are you faring?

      2. I think I’m well. Can never really tell. That’s likely a good thing. Now then. An experiment. I spotted a ‘manage’ button on WP at the top of my Reader page that I’d never seen before. Is it new and aimed at rectifying WP’s current ‘Reader’ issues? What I’ve done is to take the setting, ‘please notify of new posts’ on your blog. I’m hoping this might work and that your blog; my son’s blog and countless others may now start to appear again. The proof of the pudding will be if you see a like/comment from me next time you post. I live in hope.

      3. I also found that two weeks ago and now I get an extra notice when you have a new blog post, also it goes to my e-mail.
        I suppose we are getting smarter at this

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