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By Maxime Chattam

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She was very tall in those platform boots. I wished I had some. “Well, why don’t you get some ? ” said Zozie. I shrugged. ” I love the way she says conventional, with a gleam in her eye that’s quite different from just making fun. ” She raised her eyebrows. “Really? ” Again, I shrugged. “Oh, well. Each to his own. Listen, there’s a spectacular little place just down the road that does the most wonderful saint-honorés this side of paradise—so why don’t we just stop by there to celebrate ? ” “Celebrate what?

And, of course, there’s Annie too. I see her from Le P’tit Pinson—every morning just before eight and every afternoon after half past four—and she speaks to me cheerily enough: of her school, and her friends, her teachers, the people she sees on the bus. It’s a start, at least; but I sense she’s holding back. In a way, it pleases me. I could put that strength to use—with the right education I’m sure she’d go far—and besides, you know, the greater part of any seduction lies in the chase. 54 ✶ Jo anne Har ri s ✶ But I’m already tired of Le P’tit Pinson.

A builder’s boy made good through property, he has had very little exposure to the unusual and the uncertain. His tastes are conventional. He likes a good steak; drinks red wine; loves children, bad puns, and silly rhymes; prefers women to wear skirts; goes to mass through force of habit; has no prejudice against foreigners but would prefer not to see quite so many of them about. I do like him—and yet the thought of confiding in him—in anyone— Not that I need to. I’ve never needed a confidant. I have Anouk.

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