Mum jumped to her feet and swiveled around so fast that I almost fell of my suitcase. I regained my balance just in time to see mum gaze up at a tall man whose dark hair was falling into his eyes. He had to be in his forties, but his face was lined and he looked rather tired.
“Are you Mrs. Rangottière?”, he asked. he pronounced our last name in a weird way, like Ren-goat-i-er. Mum’s hand scooted up to her hair, flattening it nervously.
“Yes, I am.” She sounded strangely breathless. The man nodded curtly, his lips twisting into the tiniest of smiles. Then he noticed me, still sitting on my trunk.
“And you are…”
“Oh! Mum looked as if she’d only just remembered I was present as well. “This is Mathilde, my daughter.”
“Bonjour.”, I said sweetly.
“My name is Arthur.”, said the man. “I’m here to pick you up, but I had trouble finding a parking spot, so that’s why I’m late.” He said all of this very fast and I could tell mum was finding it hard to keep up with his accent.
“May I?” Arthur was pointing at our suitcases. “Sure.”, I said, handing mine to him. Mum seemed to be too stunned to react in time. “Thanks!”
He took my suitcase and I took mum’s so I’d have something to lean on. Arthur’s hands were huge and brawny.
Mum and I walked on either side of him and I could tell that Arthur was comparing mum, curvy and pretty attractive, to me, tall and gangly, and wondering how we had ended up being mother and daughter. I resembled my dad and wasn’t too glad about that, even though mum kept telling me that she envied my honey-coloured hair.
We entered a gray parking lot that looked just like many other boring parking lots around Europe. Arthur took out some old-fashioned car-keys and clicked them. A car that had the exact same sparkly brown colour as coke flashed its backlights and made a loud clicking sound. It looked a bit old fashioned, just like the keys. A very likeable look. When Arthur put our suitcases in the trunk I noticed that he moved with a kind of casual grace that he didn’t seem to notice himself. I saw mum give him an appraising look.
Oh no, mum! Please don’t!
I sat in the backseat, watching mum and Arthur in front of me. Arthur turned the car around and off we went. A few minutes into the drive – probably to keep me quiet – mum handed me a crumpled piece of paper.
I took it, glanced at it without real interest and started when I understood that mum had handed me her list of holiday plans. Her accurate handwriting spread across the page, forming a course we would follow for the next two weeks. Ignoring mum and Arthur who were chatting merrily at the front, I smoothed the paper with my hands and began to read.
Station 1) Kilkenny
Going to stay there for: one week; farm on the edge of the town (within walking distance!), belongs to Alroy-family, rented cottage, nature and old buildings, will love it!
Station 2) Cork, 4 days; rent a caravan to get there, explore the surroundings
Staion 3) Dublin, 3 days (include day of flight back home), bed and breakfast
There was a lot more information on the bottom half of the paper but I didn’t care to read that right now. Kilkenny. That had a nice sound to it. I tried form a picture of our first destination in my mind, but, let’s face it, I’d gotten up around 5 am that day and my imagination was on sleep mode. So instead of vanishing into a dream world, I loosened the bun on top of my head. It had been annoying me all morning… My hair fell loosely onto my shoulders now, still a little damp from my early morning shower. It had fallen down to my waist about a month ago, but I’d cut it to annoy mum. The “I’ve got such beautiful hair, it’s all long and shiny”-period of my life was over now.
I retrieved my mp3-Player from my backpack with some difficulty and put the earphones into my ears. After searching my playlist for a few minutes, I switched from AC/DC to something quiet. “Les Gnossiennes” by Erik Satie. They made me feel a little homesick, but also carried a calming sensation with them. I listened to them on low volume, rested my head against the cool window of Arthur’s car and fell asleep.

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