This morning, reeling in caloric guilt from a weekend of my aunt's cooking, I went for a run in the village and back through the cornfields. "Le petit tour," it's called 'round these parts. It's funny being here, because anyone I pass, I'll say "Bonjour! I am [Coquette], the daughter of Daniel," but they'll know exactly who I am before I open my mouth--the town has 200 citizens. Why, it doesn't bother them one bit to keep track of Daniel and his little American family.
Taking a left at the big Jesus cross in the village center, I headed toward the cornfields. It was just between Marthe and Bernard's vegetable garden and their horse pasture that a terrier mutt began chasing me. And since I don't want to be known as, "Daniel's daughter, the one who swears at dogs in American," I said, "Arrête."
But with Marthe nearby in her cabbage, I was a little shy, and the whole thing lacked conviction. By now, the dog was close enough to bite at my sneakers, so I turned around and hissed with intensity, "ARRÊTE."
I've mentioned before that my shouting in french, it isn't pretty. This time, my "r" came out sounding like I was choking on mashed potatoes.
And what you need to know is that the dog stopped dead, cocking its head in the same wide-eyed, mouth-gaping way that french children often do when I part my lips and expel words. It's a look that says, "Mommy, who is this alien, and what has she done to our pristine language? My delicate french ears, THEY ARE BLEEDING."