The English woman across the street, a short story, Part 6
She had changed into a black, loosely knit , slightly oversized turtleneck sweater, and a matching color pair of pants made of that expandable fabric, what's the name ? Spandex! The way she had installed herself comfortably in the corner of the sofa, her legs folded under her, and the smile she gave me made my heart sink. She was as pretty as Audrey Hepburn, and as sophisticated looking, with her big eyes wide open looking straight at me. I know, I am biased ! I grabbed Reglisse by the collar, just before he could make a mess of the room, and dried up his paws soaked with melting snow. He didn't care much for the treatment, but he had no choice. During our absence, Belinda had been watching television, a re-run of last year's Macy's Christmas parade in New-York on some English channel. And that reminded me what I had completely lost track of : tonight is Chrismas Eve. Before my unplanned scheme with Belinda the night before, I had no major plans for Christmas, but I had some. I was going to slow bake a monstruous turkey, purchased from a local farm, in the wood fired oven, and whip up some kind of homemade yule log, in the way Mother had done for decades before she passed.I had also mentioned to Father Bernard that I might, and I had heavily emphasized might, stop by the church and help him put up some Christmas decorations before midnight mass. You heard me right ! I had actually made plans to walk into a church under my own power and will. Father B. himself almost had a heart attack when I made the offer ! But my point was to help a friend who could use all the help he can get, let's not rush to any premature conclusions here...`
- " Where were you trying to go, last night, when you left your house ?" I asked Belinda.
- "I was going to drive myself to the hospital, I couldn't think of anywhere else to go".
- " Why didn't you call me, you have my number, don't you ?"
- "I do. But I was in such pain, and I felt so ashamed. And he destroyed my portable phone anyway !'.
- "You know, it's a good thing you crashed your car, because in this weather, you would have never made it all the way to Tours, not with that car of yours, and you would most likely be frozen to death by now, in the middle of nowhere".
- " I guess you saved my life then, Tony, you are my hero, my knight !"
- "Let's not get carried away, here !" I said wryly.
Our conversation was suddenly interrupted by a loud, commanding knock on the front door, and Reglisse rushed towards it, barking. Through the glazed upper half of the farm door, I could make the dark blue uniform of a gendarme :
- "Good morning, thank you for coming so quickly " I said .
- "Well. it was much easier than we thought, someone has already cleared the road all the way up to your house". I felt so validated ! Behind the tall young man, stood a "gendarmette" or female gendarme. Pretty blonde, mid twenties, fabulous figures, and she spoke English !
- "Here's what we're going to do", the male cop said, unmistakably taking charge, "my colleague here is going to debrief your friend and take pictures of her injuries, while you and I move to another room. When it's all said and done, we'll all get together and you'll both give us a detailed account of what happened" Sounded fine with me, so the two of us headed for the kitchen. while both women remained in the living room. I asked Brigadier Fournier, as the name tag on his chest said. if he and his colleague would like some coffee. Or what about lunch, since it was about that time. I could see him give enamored side looks to the smoking pot where the ham and vegetables were still simmering, and I considered this to be the answer to my question. About half an hour later, Belinda and the gendarmette joined us as I was setting the table for four in the dining room. Belinda's eyes were red from recent crying, and I figured she gave the female officer way more painful details than she had given me, which of course, I understood. Reglisse had rightfully assumed that Claudine, the gendarmette, was to be the weak link of our group, so he never left her side for the duration of the meal. Later, we had our all together conference in the living room, around coffee. I restrained myself from offering cordials, these people being on duty. They both strongly suggested that Belinda should see a doctor a soon as possible, so I immediately called my physician, Dr. Hobereau. Even though he did not normally make house calls, under these quite unusual circumstances, he agreed to bend his own rule, and I was quite appreciative. In the end, I was certainly impressed with the technology available to our law enforcement visitors. They had only one laptop computer, but equipped with a voice recognition program, so, as we gave our testimony, it was immediately transcribed into written words and of course memorised. They also took pictures with a digital camera and uploaded them into their computer immediately to make sure the quality was good. So writing their report was done litterally as we spoke. They said that after proof reading and the report being officially registered, they would e-mail both of us a copy.
To be continued...
Copyright 2012 by Austinhealy, his heirs and assigns.
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