: to be at a loss for words
*I settled on this "word of the day" following the struggle in writing a story in these sad, scary, and emotionally-charged times. Thank you for reading with open hearts.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
In the parking lot at Aldi I was loading our groceries, Mom's, then mine, into our car, when I saw two familiar faces. It was the funny duo behind us in the checkout line. Turning to the brothers (who were twins?), I smiled:
Je voulais vous remercier pour votre bonne humeur. Ça fait du bien--surtout en ce moment. I hope they understood my French, and my appreciation for their funny commentary back in line, when they were snapping each other's face masks and reminding one another to keep at a safe distance from the next customer. They were regular Laurel and Hardys in the age of coronavirus!
The short, gray-haired men, so full of antics back in the store, suddenly grew shy, in a French version of Aw, Shucks! "Well," one of the guys offered, you've got to have a sense of humor in times like these!"
"C'est sûr!" I agreed, adding, "Are you from La Ciotat?"
"My mom and I are from Arizona," I shared.
The men grew thoughtful. "A lot of upheaval in the US right now..." one of the brothers reflected.
"Here in France, too..." I said, mentioning the riots breaking out in Paris and beyond.
"Non!" The brothers replied, in a possible misunderstanding (were they unaware of the émeutes?).
"Non!" They affirmed. "We are not racist!"
I think the brothers were referring to themselves--or possibly to our region? Either way, they echoed the feelings or beliefs or ideals of many.
Our conversation ended in awkward silence, one that lingered. Later that day the brothers' words returned to mind. "We are not racist." I understood what they meant. I believe they were sincere. I know I am too! My last thought came as a surprise: But is that enough? Is it enough not to be racist?
Je voulais vous remercier = I wanted to thank you
bonne humeur = good humor
ça fait du bien = it does one good
surtout en ce moment = especially at this time
une émeute = uprising, riot
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety