Couchsurfing

I’ve been back for more than three weeks now. On New Year’s Day I walked home down a long, wet dark road and cars occasionally passed me. I looked up and there was the dark sky and the entire solar system. Nighttime isn’t dark here. It is more sparkling than the day.

School started and the weeks began to pass. The weather was worse and often I would look out my window in my living room and watch the rain and hail pelt the glass. I hope it doesn’t crack the glass I thought. On some days the weather was better and on these days I went running towards the beach. The river I cross runs faster now. One day I considered jumping in. I imagined being swept away, my bones breaking on the rocks. Virginia Woolf, I am not.

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One time I tried to go to Ajaccio but I was told there wasn’t room in the girl’s apartment. Too bad, the bus is free till the end of January. That’s what someone told me. Last weekend there was snow on the mountains and I took pictures. It melted quickly though. The school closed during the week due to the high winds. I took the bins out. The gates to my estate shut at 7pm.

Then a couple of days ago I met up with a guy from Couchsurfing. He used to be an engineer but then went travelling in Asia. Now he lives in his parent’s swanky home, which apart from the pizza place, is about the only other location on my radar within five minutes walking of my house.

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His parents are elsewhere until summer so he is living there alone. He spends a lot of time playing video games. When he isn’t, he is retraining as a teacher, but unsurely. “What will you do after you finish?” I asked him.

 “I don’t like to think about the future” he said, amongst other things. 

We were drinking beer and eating tapas at a bar in the centre. There were students sat behind him who kept turning around to look at me. I don’t know who they were.

Just before we ordered tapas, the Spanish guy had left. He had met us there but only stayed to drink a Lipton ice tea. He had work tomorrow, something with gardening. He said a lot more which I couldn’t understand. Spanish accents, like Romanian accents, are difficult for English speakers to deal with when they’re speaking French to them.

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cat playing dead
“Once” the French guy said, “I went on someone’s profile and it said ‘Couchsurfing isn’t a relationship site but nor is it a cooking site and you often end up cooking together’ and I thought it’s true”. I laughed and said “I like that”. I don’t know if I did. I had drunk two beers.

Later I told him I had friends in Ajaccio. “Other assistants” I explained. “And what are they he said?” “Americans mostly” I said.  He nodded. “Mainly girls” I added, for something to say.
“You’ll have to invite them down” he said, immediately.

He drank more beer and told me it was difficult to find a girl here. “Everyone knows each other and sticks to their groups and you can look at each other but that’s it. You can’t ever speak to each other. I don’t know if it’s different in England? is it different in England?”

I Shrugged. We finished our drinks. It was nearly 10:30pm. “They’re not obese are they?” he said suddenly.  

“Only…” I began and laughed. I picked up my drink and almost spit it out laughing. He laughed too.

 “Can we have the bill please?” he said to the passing waiter.

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Later on, we were in his car driving up towards Trinité. It was raining. The occasional street light looked like melted icing in the black tarmac of the road. “It’s the out west here” he said. I contemplated the road, nodding slowly. “It is like the wild west yeah” I said.  Then I laughed.

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