This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!

The French Lesson, Part 9

by The Scholar

"Are you finished, yet?"

I was lying on my bunk looking down at the one below, where Simon was doing his homework.

"Not quite."

"Well, how much longer?"

"I dunno, but I'll be done a lot quicker if you don't keep asking if I've finished." I sighed.

"Why don't you bugger off to the beach? I'll come as soon as I'm through."

"Okay, but try to be quick, I don't like being on that beach by myself, foreigners keep trying to talk to me."

"They're not foreigners, you are - this is their country."

"Yeah, whatever, I still don't like it."

"I'll be as quick as I can, now go, or I'll never get this finished."

I sighed again and pulled myself to a sitting position on my bunk and jumped down to the floor.

"I'll be in the usual place," I said, picking up a towel and leaving Simon to finish his diary entry.

Our day in Paris had gone quite well. I'd had him all to myself and we actually surprised each other by deciding that we wanted to visit some of the touristy places we thought that we'd end up avoiding. As a result, I got some genuine admission tickets to places and bought some postcards from the gift shops and got to see some of those things you only ever see in books, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, the marble sculpture of the Greek goddess of love and beauty which, they said, can be dated back to about 100-years before Jesus was born!

We didn't have a lot of time to spend looking at everything, so we just decided to find the things we had heard of, so it was quite good fun navigating our way from one floor to another and I reckoned that you'd need to spend a whole week just to see everything they had.

"Awesome!" Had been Simon's comment.

"Yeah, it was all pretty amazing," I had to agree with him.

"That Mona Lisa woman must have been a bit odd, though."

"You weren't impressed, then?"

"Oh, I wouldn't say that, I mean it's a brilliant painting and probably she's the most famous woman in the world..."

"After Mother Theresa."

"...but, well, I dunno, there was something about her I didn't like."

"She had no eyebrows."


"She had no eyebrows?"

"Didn't she?"

"I don't think she did."

I had pulled a postcard I had bought from my bag and looked at it. She definitely looked as though she had no eyebrows.

"So, where next?"

Where next had been The Arc de Triomphe, which we only looked at, as it was standing in the middle of a roundabout, least that what it looked like. This was, so Simon informed me, Charles de Gaulle Etoile and we walked from there and came across a road I had heard of, the Champs Elysees - very long and very busy.

We had already eaten our packed lunches of sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt, but walking so much we still felt hungry and so we had taken lunch in a small café, which was rather amusing, because we pointed at everything we wanted, only to discover that the person serving us spoke perfect English. Well, maybe not perfect, as she spoke it with a French accent, so would definitely not be able to pass herself off as the Queen of England, but she did speak it better than either of us spoke French, despite my attempts to throw in a few words from my phrasebook.

As we headed back to the Eiffel Tower, where we were all to rendezvous (a French word I did know) at five pm, we strolled by the River Seine. We admired the architecture of the Tower and, had we been wearing them, we should have doffed our hats to the bust of Monsieur Gustave-Alexandre Eiffel that stood underneath it.

"It's like Blackpool Tower," Simon had announced.

In some respects, I had to agree, though I wasn't sure how high Blackpool Tower was and the information we had about the Eiffel Tower was that it stood 1,063-feet high.

"Are we going up?" I asked.

"Have we time?"

"Yeah, plenty."

And so we did. Well, not all the way. We decided, once we hit the second floor, that we would probably miss the coach back if we continued. The view, however, was astounding. You could practically see all of Paris and everyone looked like ants. My own homework diary would need some amendments, I decided.

It had been a long, but glorious day - the only thing to spoil it was Mike McKenzie and Alex Matthews. Their 'complete disregard of the trust we placed in you', as Mr Hamilton put it, saw us travelling back with two very drunk boys, who had decided to take the advantage of the differing licensing laws between this country and those of our own and, subsequently, Mike McKenzie threw up on the coach and Alex Matthews just giggled like a silly schoolgirl. No one else was amused.

Upon our return to our hostel, we were told to wash up quickly and get downstairs to the dining hall for our evening meal, which we did - all except Mike and Alex, who were so blotto that they were sent straight to bed to sleep it off. After our meal, we had our homework before we were allowed out with strict instructions to 'stay out of any place selling alcohol'. We were lucky. Kevin Bradshaw had figured that Mike and Alex's behaviour would have seen us all locked in our dormitories, but, fortunately, we were not going to be punished for the actions of two of our classmates.

I laid my towel on the beach, removed my shirt and lay in the late evening sun thinking about the day I had just had and waiting for Simon to join me, which seemed to be no time at all.

"You were quick," I said, acknowledging his arrival.

"Je t'aime tellement que c'est dur de me concentrer sur autre chose que toi."


"Tu es ma meilleure amie. Amour de ma vie."

"Since when did you learn to speak such fluent French and what the hell are you saying, anyway."

Simon laid out his own towel next to mine, removed his shirt, lay down and grinned at me.

"Il faut que je t'embrasse."



"Quit this French stuff and speak English."

"Je te veux."

"Yeah, 'je teux veux' you, too," I said. I was beginning to get annoyed. "If you don't speak English, there's no point in us talking!"

I turned away from him.

"All I said was 'bonsoir, mon amie."

"No it wasn't!"

"Yes, it was."

I turned back to face Simon, who now stood above me holding his towel.

"Are you leaving?" I asked.

"Leaving? I've just got here. You been dreaming again?"

"Guess I was," I smiled, as Simon laid out his towel next to mine, removed his shirt and lay down.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead