Part 1 of 2: Our eyes met from across the room, where he was on a high pedestal I was just lost in the crowd. I didn’t know how it happened, how we could have gotten this far just from one look, but here we were, in his bedroom. It began with a look and ended with that night. What could I say, what could I do?
Where do I begin? I guess I’ll start with a cup of coffee. Before all this, this…it could only be described as one wild ride. It was the story of how I met Camden, or Card as he liked to be called. Camden Cardiac, the lead singer of Card and the Cardiacs. He was a name mentioned in the halls of the Paris high school I found myself attending.
See, I liked to travel, ever since I was young. I would take any and all opportunities to do so. So, when I got to high school and found out I could take advantage of a foreign exchange trip to Paris, France, well who wouldn’t jump on that bandwagon? I was in the ninth grade and I was here for six months, longer if I had my say.
Who am I you’re probably wondering? I’m a coywolf named Riles Warren Skyes. Nice to meet ya. Now let’s get on with the story…
“Did you hear?” I heard some students whispering as I made my way to my French class. They were of course whispering in their native language, French. I had already learned a bit of French last year in 8th grade in anticipation for this and had studied up on it on my own as well so I wasn’t exactly lost. I could understand a little.
“No, hear what?”
“Camden’s performant this Friday in the Ange Bisou Performance Hall! I’m so excited.” What words I didn’t know, like performing, I picked up from context clues and because it sounded almost the same.
So, there was this Camden, everybody was talking about him, and he was doing some sort of performance in the Ange Bisou Performance Hall this Friday. Well, if everybody was so keen on it, maybe I’d check it out to see what was all the hullabaloo.
“Excusez moi,” I tapped a girl on the shoulder. She brushed herself off, giving me a slightly annoyed look. “May I ask, what’s this all about a performance?” I spoke in broken French of course but I think she understood.
“Ah, oui, Card and the Cardiacs play in the music hall on Friday. It’ll be merveilleux!”
“Merveilleux?” I tried to say, but it was a little difficult to pronounce. I’d have to ask my French teacher. “Anyway, is there a fee?”
“Fee?” She rubbed her arm. I must’ve said it wrong…
“Price, cost…” I thought back to shopping terms from last year.
“Oui, oui!” she giggled. “It’s only 36.50€!”
Upon checking my pockets I realized I only had enough for lunch each day. I would have to find myself a job. I decided I’d ask my host family about it later. For now it was time to get to class. I ran off, thanking her as I went. She waved and shrugged, going on about her day. I had a week to find a job that would pay enough. I was so interested in this performance, I knew I just had to be there.
Did you ever just get a gut feeling, like you knew something was bound to happen? Not a bad feeling per say, no this was a good feeling. It was like destiny had rung me up and was saying, listen here. I wondered who this illustrious Camden was, or Card as I heard some whisperings.
“We were staying in Paris,
to get away from your parents,
and I thought, ‘Wow,
if I could take this in a shot right now,
I don’t think that we could work this out…’”
I thought, wow. Someone’s singing voice was a breeze on a blissful field of flowers, waving gently over a sea of green grass. The flowers were peaceful, and I closed my eyes, letting myself lull into the rhythm. I had to know who it was, I had to get closer. I passed my French door, ducking down so as not to be seen through the window. If I was late so be it, I was known to be a troublemaker from time to time.
I put my hands on the cliff’s edge of the wall near where I could hear the singing. I peered slowly around it and saw some music rooms. The door was partially open, a jean jacket sleeve caught in it unawares to anyone but me now. I could hear the song, and a guitar too. I hummed along. I saw into the room, a toasty golden brown fur color, but I couldn’t see who it belonged to.
A hand fell on my shoulder and a teacher with circle glasses was above me. “Young man, where are you supposé to be right now?”
“I’m sorry, my French is a little rusty,” I said in English, shrugging off the hand as I turned around to face him.
“Ah, a foreign exchange student.” He spoke in English.
“I can make my way to class; I was just a little entranced.” I blushed pink. I really had found myself lost in the music. It had stopped now, and I wondered what the student was doing in there. Please go on before I had to go on myself.
“Go now, before I write you up.”
I scurried off, “You don’t gotta be so strict,” I grumbled, but I was soon to find out just how strict French schools could be. Thankfully that wasn’t a part of this story.
That night at home I asked my host family, two cats, husband and wife, at dinner about finding a job. They gave me these wide eyed looks like they thought I was crazy. “What do you need a job for?” asked Émilie as she poured some soup.
“I can’t expect you guys to just give me money, and besides I want to be able to do things for myself here, ya know.”
“Proper French please,” said Jacqué. I had used a little English mixed in and I could tell he would be stickler for the language. I knew it was generally a rule to use the native language of whatever place you were visiting on foreign exchange, but I would really have to learn. Not that I was unwilling, French was a beautiful language.
“I have a friend who sells flowers from a booth down by the fountain in the plaza,” said Émilie with a smile. “He always looks like he could use some help. I’ll call him up soon for you.”
“I’d be grateful.” I said, using French to the best of my abilities with a look from Jacqué. I slurped my soup and got a disgusted look from Émilie, but she shrugged it off with a giggle.
“You really must enjoy that.” She said and I translated as best I could.
The next day I was in the living room finishing up some French homework when Émilie tapped me on the shoulder, “I have your answer.” I looked up at her.
“Oh, you do, do ya?!” I smiled and she tilted her head.
“I have you a job.”
“You start after school.”
“Thank you!” I jumped up, ready to walk to school before I was late.
Part I song credits go to Paris by the Chainsmokers.