After breakfast at Hotel Fibonacci, he circled the block before heading towards the beach. Amazed by the foreign environment, his mind expanded to take in the island’s exotic, colorful details.
By the seaside, a magnificent picture opened up: a vast, turquoise-blue sky over warm, vanilla-colored sand. In the background, the mighty, azure-blue sea and in its center, the showpiece: two sisters, with long, coffee-colored hair over tanned shoulders, sitting on generously big, impeccably white towels.
Overwhelmed, he stopped a few seconds to admire the picture before stepping into it.
In a plastic bag, he carried a faded, small towel and a pocketbook, The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Glancing over to the girls, he saw sunscreen, hairbrushes, combs, sunglasses, hats materializing from their elegant tote bags. Two books: Sartre and Camus. Smilingly, he tested his school French by reading the titles out aloud: “Le Mur” “L’Etranger” They heard him and echoed him mischievously by pronouncing the title of his book, “Ze PeRl,” while giggling.
The wall was torn down and they were not completely strangers. The girls were thrilled at having a conversation with the white-skinned, blue-eyed young man who was mauling their beloved French like a German tank. They counter-attacked the English language, keeping their uvular R’s, stressing all word-endings, and fighting a courageous battle with the mysterious h-sound.
After interrogations about favorite philosophers, musicians and authors, they went for a swim. He wondered why they screamed, “Oh, messieurs!” after each dip. They insisted that it was “Oh, mes yeux!”, “Hand hin Hinglísh, zis meanz ho, my highs!” When he didn’t understand, they challenged him, “Yu put yoR hown ‘ed hundéR ze oatéR, hand yu oill zee!” Indeed, the salty water did hurt his eyes.
His nose had turned intensely red by the time they had to break up. The girls proposed a rendezvous next day, “Yes? TomoRóv? Oui mit ‘eaR? Hat ze zame time?” Overwhelmed, he smiled, “Wee, che vieng demán!”
An invisible, creative spiral had started to take shape. In its further sequence lay hidden many trips to France, French language studies – a life dedicated to French culture.