I am the youngest one in the French language program in Chambéry, but was immediately placed in the highest level of classes upon my arrival. After the first month, the lessons begin to repeat themselves. My attention wanes.
In February another young student arrives, a Swiss boy named Laurent. We get along in class and while having coffee from the instant machine in the center’s common space, and after a couple weeks he asks me to have a drink with him in town.
My solitude, especially with my experience running, has made me suspicious of all men. I don’t know what Laurent wants from me, if he thinks I’m pretty or not, and I don’t trust him for it. We go to a bar and I cover myself up, wearing clothes that show none of my skin or even a hint of shape.
Laurent is easy to talk to about music, travel, food, and he walks me home after we have a few drinks. Instead of letting him kiss me---as I now know he wants to, and I wouldn’t mind either---I thank him for the drink, tell him I’ll see him in class, and shut the gate firmly behind me.
I have a bad habit, I realize as I walk slowly up the stairs to my dark apartment, of deciding how things will go before they happen. And these self-fulfilling prophecies aren’t getting me anywhere.