The chateau is hoppin’ with friends, friends’ kids, family, French, English, some Spanish, a dog and FB’s mother cooking up a storm. His father has made rabbit paté from a hare he ran off the road a few days before. Apparently he has a habit of accidentally running down hares and turning them into roadkill paté. He has also made an astounding fois gras that my own liver will remember for the next two weeks.
There is a local chef down the road who will be roasting a suckling pig for our dinner.
Night falls and a group of us head out to make the trek to the next town to see the pig being roasted. I decided that since the thought of walking through the pitch black to see a pig on a spit terrifies me, I must go immediately. We set off down the road into the darkness, my hand clutching the flashlight and hoping there are no Viking ghosts. Wait, were there ever actually Vikings in France? My American public school history education seems to be getting more questionable by the moment. Just concentrate on your ruined Jay-Z Roc-a-Fella sneakers covered in manure making one step at a time. Somehow on dark walks through the night, I always end up walking alone between two groups. “Always”…. as in the two times in my life I have trekked through the pitch black, one being the previous night and the other being the current one. The first group sprints ahead and the group behind me lags, leaving me alone in the darkness. I decide not to turn my flashlight on and face the fear. I think of Newark and other tough places I have never walked through but because I am from New Jersey I can claim them as my roots.
I walk by a herd of cows, which in the dark I couldn’t see and which make loud grunting noises as I go by, releasing the terror flood within me. I am suddenly convinced it is a pack of wolves and Camden and Newark aside, I am their next meal. My breath stops, the tears come and I fumble for the flashlight. As I shine my feeble light into the field, I see that in darkness, even cows look menacing. EVIL, EVIL COWS! I run to catch up to the first group. We make it to the town and I realize I am very good at looking cool while silently vomiting inside. This is a skill that will come in handy time and time again.
There are two pigs kissing on a stake, in one end, out the other over an open fire. The chef slowly spins them, their skin turning a golden pinkish brown and I am mesmerized and also grateful that I am not a vegetarian. I think briefly of their short life and how awful the word “dead suckling pig” is before I decide that smoking another cigarette instead and looking cool would be a better idea as my imagination has already gone to “dead suckling babies”. I shake it off and on our walk back through the night, I feel a little lost in a foreign world and suddenly I want my Mom more than ever. I kiss 2007 goodbye and wonder what 2008 will bring my way. And least I can say and the……et le……et le….et le…..et la…..et la…..eh eh eh