petite anglaise

January 10, 2006


Filed under: parting ways — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:03 am

I grab Mr Frog’s keys, and bundle my protesting Tadpole out of the front door.

“I want to do my jigsaw, mummy!” she cries, ignoring the finger I have hastily pressed to my lips. I pity anyone in my apartment block who was hoping to have a lie-in.

“Later, darling,” I say, to placate her. I realise that “later”, in my language, usually means “never”, as by the time “later” comes, she will have forgotten what she wanted anyway. Which often works in my favour.

We collect the pushchair from the former concierge’s quarters downstairs, now just a couple of dank, dusty rooms which play host to a collection of bicycles, crates and pushchairs, and set off across the road to “Daddy’s House”. We are on a mission: Mr Frog omitted to return the pushchair’s rain cover, and has gone away on business. As the skies are looking rather ominous, I have asked his permission to call in, in his absence, and retrieve it. Luckily, I have his spare set of keys.

Mr Frog’s building is only 200 m further up the road, but from a completely different era. Whereas my flat is in a stone building built in 1905, in the typical Parisian style (six floors, balconies on the first and fifth), Mr Frog’s is a circa 1970 tower block, albeit a rather swanky one. There are long echoing marble corridors, plants in the entrance hall and a live-in gardienne, whose curtain twitches every time she hears an unfamiliar voice outside her door. We take the lift up to Mr Frog’s floor, and outside the door I fumble for the right key.

The door swings open, and Tadpole surges into the flat, immediately at ease in her home from home, whereas I hesitate, cautiously, on the threshold. It feels a little odd to be here. An intrusion, despite the fact that I have permission to enter. Mr Frog’s new home symbolises, to me, all the changes I have wrought in our lives since last spring. It is filled with furniture which he bought without me. He has it looking really nice, but, somehow, it always has a melancholy feel.

I spy the pushchair cover immediately, but do not pick it up, yet. Instead, I follow Tadpole into the bedroom. The shutters are half closed; the room in semi-darkness. There isn’t much to see: the futon bed is made, with familiar bedding; Tadpole’s new Dora the Explorer pyjamas are laid neatly out in her travel cot, in a corner; her toys spill out of the wooden crate he has bought for their storage.

Moving into the kitchen, this time without any pretext, I smile ruefully at the packets of chocolate biscuits and sweets piled on the work surfaces. Mr Frog is clearly up to his old, pre-petite tricks. I bet he hasn’t cooked a proper meal since he moved in, back in July. I wonder, if I looked in his cupboard, whether I wouldn’t find some of those packet noodles he used to live on before we met.

I draw the line at opening the cupboards, however.

The living room is sombre, the blinds also drawn here, partially obscuring his stunning view of the rooftops of Paris through the huge French doors. The place has a tidy, not very lived-in look. I don’t suppose he spends many evenings at home when Tadpole isn’t staying. He has bought a bookcase since I last visited, and a single token book, the new Brett Easton Ellis, sits on a shelf, in pristine condition. Again, I smile a knowing half-smile. I don’t believe I saw Mr Frog read a book from start to finish in the eight years we were together. I see my immense bookcase in my mind’s eye, with its paperbacks stacked three layers deep.

Feeling that I have outstayed my welcome, I pick up the plastic cover and call Tadpole’s name. We leave, but the voyeuristic feeling I had in his apartment stays with me all day.

This is Mr Frog’s new life. This is the new home he has built for himself out of the ashes of our relationship. His life will go on now, without me, regardless of me.

And it’s none of my business.

January 6, 2006

the road to hell

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:10 pm

In no particular order: a collection of good, if futile, intentions for 2006.

  • Will try not to eat all of Tadpole’s Christmas (white) chocolate, as well as my own. Or at least not to eat the Cadbury’s buttons by the handfull. Unless no-one’s watching.
  • Will attempt to do some exercise, if only to get back that off-limits section of the wardrobe where everything is filed under “pre-Tadpole” (and yes, I know that was a long time ago…)
  • Will not lapse into horrible yo-yo dieting and bulemia, in so doing.
  • Will strive to get my “five portions” a day. Every day. (Note to self: may need to purchase Viagra on internet.)
  • Will work hard at increasing my feeble alchohol tolerance levels. The only way is up.
  • Will endeavour to potty train Tadpole, who is precocious in many ways, but strangely reluctant to leave nappies behind.
  • Will attempt to refrain from answering the call of nature in baths, swimming pools, and indeed any body of water.
  • Will erase the words “yeah”, “oh my god!” and “bugger!” from my vocabulary because these words simply sound wrong on the innocent lips of my daughter.
  • Will post on the blog more often, but only if have something worth saying.
  • Will write saucy anonymous sex blog with lots of steamy action and live off the advertising revenue.
  • Will endeavour to persuade Lover to de-clutter his apartment before the advent of the Parisians, in July…
  • … without throwing too many things away that he actually needs/wants/can’t live without, causing irreparable harm to blossoming relationship.
  • Will try to prevent self from singing the words “I would like to tender my resignation”…
  • … or dancing a celebratory dance around the office.
  • Will attempt to stay in touch with my far-flung friends more often – although quite frankly would be hard pushed to get in touch less often.
  • Will try to get back behind the wheel after 14 year hiatus without causing injury to fellow travellers on the roads of Britanny.
  • Will find a way to stop computer sounding like an industrial hairdryer. Tadpole at Christmas, when mother switched on very noisy hoover to remove Christmas tree needles from carpet: “It’s a computer!”
  • Win something. The loto, ideally, although a bloggie would be nice. Nominations are accepted from now until 20 January – petite could conceivably feature in the European category, perhaps?
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