Moose-head, doe-eyes, shrew and Alternative Navigations were published in Impspired Issue 13 on 1st October.
Clive Montague never liked me particularly. I certainly never liked him. Loud, boorish, with floppy fair hair, there was — there is — nothing to like about him. This gives rise to two questions:
First. Why, some twenty years ago, did I receive an invitation to the house-party he was hosting at his parents’ country residence in Dorset?
Second. Why did I go?
The second question isn’t difficult to answer. Curiosity. Plain and simple. Clive and his public school ‘chums’ inhabited a universe I’d read about in Edwardian novels but thought had long since ceased to exist. It was a world I neither envied nor despised but one which I felt I should witness before its final expiry.
The first question will be answered in due course and I will add a third. I still dislike Clive. Meanwhile, in the years that have passed since that first invitation, Clive’s indifference to me has mutated into loathing. Why, then, are there several occasions every year when we find ourselves in each other’s company?
Adrian’s godfather, Benoît, lives by himself in an apartment in the sixième, not far from the Jardin du Luxembourg.
—You know, Adrian, he says. One should always marry a foreigner.
Adrian smiles. He has heard this from Benoît before.
—Find a woman whose first language is not English. In my case, naturally, her first language must not be French. This is the way to avoid misunderstandings.
Benoît speaks from experience. He has married, successively, a Greek, a Guatemalan and a Hungarian. Until recently he lived with a Texan. Their months together constituted an interlude of bliss, he says, and he and Mary-Beth barely understood one word the other said.
♦ Read both stories online