Tuesday, May 03, 2005

“You’ve been invited to my parents, 29 April-1 May” Dimitri told me. I’d not met D’s parents, I have met his brother and sister when they visited Paris but it hadn’t worked out to meet his folks. He told me he had been all but ordered by his mother to bring me to their home. “You have been seeing this girl for a year, but we haven’t met her.” Your brother and sister know her and now your going off traveling to Russia with her. My cousins will have met her by we haven’t.”

It was later Friday afternoon I sat by the window holding a cup of tea, my bag by the door. From this vantage point I can see the Twingo come around the corner. A Volkswagen camper clattered around the corner, it took me a second to realize it was D. We would be taking the camper! I knew it was running as he and a couple of friends and gone camping the two previous weekends. Testing it out he told me.

I rinsed out my cup, grabbed my bag and ran out to meet him. I came out the door just as he walked around the front of the camper. He was beaming, he’s so proud of himself and with good reason. In the fall after he brought the hulk to Paris he took me to see it. I was pretty dubious it was covered with bird dung and since it was left outside and a window was broken the interior was full of mold and the mice and ruined the seats.

He told me it just looked bad that the mechanicals were in great shape and that even after sitting for several years it started right up. We’d see I thought. He was right I was wrong and glad of it. Off we went and as soon as we reached the highway I made a discovery, it’s slow.

The town D grew up in is on the Belgian border where his dad is a school headmaster and his mom a librarian. I began to think about how far it was and began wondering if it would take all weekend to get there. A bit after seven he pulled off the road and began raising the top. “What are you doing?” I asked. “We’re going to make dinner.” He replied and he started making pasta for two.

After dinner of course we needed to try the bed. Our post coital cuddling was interrupted by a tap on the glass, a policeman, we couldn’t camp here. It was late when we reached his parents, but in true motherly fashion D’s mom had dinner ready for us. On the way up D hinted that he’d object him his mother tried putting us in separate rooms. I warned him that he better not embarrass me by putting me in the middle of his unresolved familial conflicts. He didn’t and I got his room and he slept on the couch.

Saturday he took me on a tour of the town in which he grew up. As coincidence would have it, we ran into his first girl friend with kids in tow. She was friendly and the meeting gave me a chance to tease him a bit.

His mom made a big dinner Saturday and had invited D’s siblings and an aunt and uncle who live in the area. D mentioned his mom was a good cook, but he didn’t tell me as to how good. I’m intimidated that I may someday be cooking dinner for her. Of course D made it worse by talking up my cooking and particularly about Thanksgiving. His mom wants to trade recipes.

D favors his mother in appearance, but his father in personality, both being quiet and thoughtful. I had been nervous about this trip but by the time dessert was on the table I felt like I was part of the family which felt good. Being with the family of someone you have only know as an adult is enlightening. D has a couple of personality tics, nothing dramatic, just phrases he uses, little routines that he follows. I wondered where those came from, now I know.

We left after brunch on Sunday and the trip home was proceeding uneventfully till just out side Paris, when an awful racket emanated from the back. We pulled over and D’s face had a look of panic upon it. A tow truck came and friends arrived to bring us home.

Monday afternoon he came by my apartment, he seemed so defeated. He had come from the mechanic; the motor was ruined and would need to be replaced. It would cost over 3000€ which would take most of his savings and leave nothing for the trip. Either way he said we couldn’t go. I suggested taking the Twingo. He rejected that; I guess the vision of this trip includes the camper. He sat on the couch, his head in hands I felt bad for him. He has worked hard to make this happen.

As I watched him I made a decision and got my checkbook from my purse.

Kim

4 Comments:

Blogger Pete from Cal said...

Glad to see you had a wonderful time with D's family. It seems like you and D are moving along smoothly. Hopefully it'll work out because he seems nice and you guys are quite compatible. Was he too proud to let you pay for the engine so you guys can have your trip to Russia? Maybe telling him it is a loan and he can pay you back later would work. Hope it'll work out.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Pete from Cal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Yes he argued with me about it. During the discussion it came out that it was his plan to bring me as his guest, and that was not my plan.

In the end we agreed that my paying for the work would be my contribution to the trip. So it's a win-win, D's pride is intact and we are going on a road trip.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Pete from Cal said...

Nice save Kim! Nothing hurts more than a wounded male ego! :D I knew D would object the moment I read that you took out your checkbook. Glad he is a sensible person and able to compromise. Now we can look forward to your Russia road-trip stories and you get to have your fun with D! Definitely a win-win situation! :P Take care!

7:41 PM  

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