I am in a café in Bernay with Clémence and her friends. It is comforting to have these people around me, but it doesn’t always mean that we understand each other.
They keep saying this word, autruche, over and over, as part of a joke. Autruche. Autruche. I don’t know what autruche means, and no answers lie in my pocket dictionary whose blue cover is so bent from constant use these past three weeks. Fréd tries to explain to me what an autruche is, but I just can’t grasp it. My frustrated brain has turned off. I can’t take any more of the incomprehensible, nasal gibberish that is coming out of their mouths.
The next day, Pauline drives Clémence and me to walk around a nearby chateau. As I climb out of the car in the bright morning sun, I blink to read the billboard just ahead. On it is a picture of an ostrich advertising for a zoo in the next town over. Venez voir les autruches! Come see the ostriches!
Oh, I smile, laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing. So that’s what it is.