The door to Mr Frog’s apartment is ajar, so I venture in. The cosy scene which greets me is of Tadpole, seated on the sofa, cheeks a fiery shade of crimson, watching her favourite “Oui Oui” DVD. In stark contrast, Mr Frog, slumped by her side, is an exhausted shade of grey.
Tadpole has been suffering from a particularly nasty cold and tummy upset virus (a French doctor would no doubt refer to this as “gastric flu”, making it sound emergency ward, code red serious) which has been doing the rounds in Paris of late. Mr Frog, due to unfortunate timing, has borne the brunt of the horrorshow nappies and sleepless nights, while I galavant around Paris, full of the joys of Spring.
I take a seat beside Tadpole, while Mr Frog pours me a glass of coffee flavoured coca cola (not bad, but not exactly good either, whatever will they dream up next?) to taste.
We chat, mostly swapping favourite Tadpole anecdotes, and recounting flat hunting experiences, until he recalls something she had told him the previous day which made a lasting impression.
They were looking at the letters of the alphabet depicted on her coloured jigsaw floor tiles, and Tadpole had seized upon the letter “J”.
“It’s a J for Jim,” she announced, proudly.
“Oh yes,” replied Mr Frog, uneasily, wondering what to say next.
“Maman, elle a perdu son ami Jim, et elle pleure,” added my daughter.
“When was she crying?” Mr Frog enquired, concerned.
“Yesterday,” came the reply.
I am amazed. She has not mentioned his name once, not since that first horrible day when she knocked on the door, expecting him to answer. I truly thought she had already forgotten him.
I hasten to reassure Mr Frog that by yesterday, Tadpole actually means two whole weeks ago. Because, actually, after shedding a thousand tears during that first weekend of disbelief, I haven’t cried since. Not once.
There are moments when I fall victim to feelings of overwhelming panic about the prospect of being alone. Moments when I experience little pangs of regret about the plans I have been forced to cast aside. But on the whole, I’m surprised to find that I feel little remorse about this aborted relationship.
The future beckons, pregnant with promise. And I walk slowly towards it, with only the slightest hesitation, and not so much as a backward glance.