Poitiers on the Sunday afternoon is a total ghost town. All the shops are either closed or close at 1pm, so I'm dragging myself all the way to the train station where I might get lucky according to Google Maps. Just the sounds of cockerels (which are familiar even though over here, they do 'cocorico'), no cars, no humans, possibly a result of the covid lockdown being lifted just recently or a plot to make me feel more at home. I come from a town that really should be called a village, with two shops, shrouded in an ever-present cloud of cow's shit fragrance. L'eau De Vache.
David is now in Belgium with his dad and sister, helping to move her back here, after a year of studying graphic desing on a Hogwarts-like university in Tournay. Of course the moving truck would only have three seats, forcing me and his mum, almost like by design, to do our best with co-habiting for a few days without his generous translating services and minus the one thing I define myself by - my ability to express myself in an endless caffeinated stream of consciousness chatter. She doesn't speak English, but I understand quite a lot and can communicate some basics in French, so our interactions look like a comedic jumble of hand gestures, pointing at things, nervous laughing when we can't get what the other one tries to say, and a little victorious moments of knowing exactly what they mean, or hoping so...
I spent most of my day in my favourite park Blossac, which you (no jokes) pronnounce as 'blowsack', fortunately or sadly have not seen yet anyone blowing and sacks around here, but I stopped by the little enclosure with goats to say hi. There's an awesome coming of age ritual here in Poitiers, only for the brave and stupid - on the night of succesfully passing your A-levels, you sneak into the Blossac park at night, climb into this enclosure and throw these mini goats over the fence, so that the park wardens have to chase them all around in the morning. My phone battery died as per usual, so journey back home (around an hour walk) stretched into the infinity, but gave me at least enough time to pick some wildflowers for David's mum, find a new cardigan on a street & a wooden crate (I developed an obsession for wooden crates).
Monday. I've been banned from cooking a dinner for us today, I understand French woman's kitchen is her castle, but I at least wisked up my gluten & sugar free muffins with apple and chia seed and left them with a google translate generated note saying something like 'they look disgusting, but please give them a chance' for David's mum to find when she's back from work. Subsequenty I got super paranoid and scrubbed the kitchen like a crime scene & chased the family cat Noisette and a still-alive lizard she brought for me out of the house, before wrestling with the lock for a good half an hour, so that I could leave for a walk.
Today, I'm hanging out closer to home - by the river Le Clain in Buxerolles, just on the outskirts of Poitiers, and of course I'm convinced I left the oven on. Every little kid passing by today says bonjouuuurrr messieurrrr, which makes me think either I look older than I hoped, or these French kids are all extremely well behaved. Slightly older kids and adults are eating each others faces, passionately and with a complete abandon, and they make it easy to believe that Le Clain is exactly where french kissing was invented.
There's some 'je ne sais quoi' in the air here and it tastes a bit like childhood summers filled with days that flow slowly, deliciously & golden - like honey.
Is it possible to fall for a place this fast and this hard? Most of our friends who grew up here and left as soon as they could, are shaking their heads in disbelief - after all, this is a L'eau De Vache ghost town when nothing ever happens - but perhaps this is exactly what my soul needs right now to feel nourished and ready for another big contraction. Cause it's coming. It always is just behind the corner.