Silvia sits at a mirror and combs straw out of her hair.
Silvia: I don’t speak much the language of fogs and frogs, that French language: the language of the mayonnaise eaters. Or do they produce the mayonnaise? Perhaps both: production and eating. I know they produce mayonnaise. Jacques produces mayonnaise. His mayonnaise is quite nice; I was surprised by Jacques. He and I work well together, don’t we? Jacques. Without any language between us. Just two little words we have between us–words that I thought were little, but which have now grown and gown in size like an enormous cabbage on the one hand happily shaded next to her old barn and a robust courgette the size of, of. Well, the courgette is a half meter long and curved like, and robust. Yes; two small words: merci and de rien. Merci de rien, merci de rien all summer. How many hundreds of times have we said those two words back and forth as we planted out the tomatoes, the potatoes, the leeks, the fennel, the rhubarb. When did it change? How slow and how swift green spring colors to the red blush of summer! Yes, today I blushed. Today I realized Jacques wasn’t saying de rien at all but derrière. He said it, derrière, and I blushed like a hundred bloodhounds rushed from my cottage house to bark and whine at the gate of my house as a stray dog, a lost mutt, a fox–a French fox–stalked past and peed on the trees and stones just there outside of the gate where I can smell him and my bloodhounds, my blood. Well, I wanted the gate open and as fast as possible. Derrière! Derrière? Did he say derrière or did I HEAR derrière? And for how long have I heard derrière? Some weeks now? Some weeks now I’ve been enjoying Jacques. His quiet de rien. The way he looks at me dead in the eyes and says quietly derrière. I mean de rien. He must have said de rien not derrière. Robust Jacques. And his courgette. Courgette? Is courgette a French word, too? I don’t care; I don’t care. Who can consider etymologies tonight when the sap is flowing and the heat is rising off the fields, the insects buzzing, and the owls hunting. Oh, my blood; I’m blushing again: look at me. I’m on fire. This warm, hot summer. Oui, Jacques, mais oui, mon derrière!