xxxxiii. provence

postcards from france

Before I find the small side road that leads out to the vineyards and villas in the countryside, I run in the neighborhood to the west of Agnès’s apartment. Every day I head out in my shorts and tank top, which make me stick out among in the poor, mostly North African area. Maybe I should cover up more, but it is unbearably hot in Aix at the end of summer. Next to the women in full burkhas, I feel a kind of freedom that I’ve never before had to consider. As I pass by — me running, them herding their bands of overheated children — I can feel their dark, kohl-lined eyes following me, an indecent blur of sun-browned skin and dark tattoos.