Friday, May 4, 2012

Clement Part 1 - 5-4-2012

Ocean view from Barracuda in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Clement was French, from Paris. Her blond hair and blue eyes complemented her graceful body. I thought she might have been a dancer. She was a nurse. Clement most recently worked in New Caledonia (French Polynesia to Americans) for six months.

It was nearly sunset by the time she and I walked through town and up the hill to Barracuda on Sunday evening. Clement kept to herself at Casa Brian. She was self conscious about her English but was talkative once comfortable with someone. I thought she had a pretty accent. Clement went diving most of Saturday. We went for drinks at La Vela Latina that evening, then I walked her part way to the hostel before I went into town for dinner and to enjoy Samara's night life. This afternoon, Sunday, I invited her to Barracuda to take pictures of Samara with me. Our conversation drifted from empty small talk to childhood nostalgia to complicated heartache as the afternoon advanced to evening, then darkened to night.
Downtown Samara from Barracuda in Playa Samara, Costa Rica

The sky is a palette of pastels, pink and lavender in the west, blue with a touch of purple in the east, as we arrive at Barracuda's upper patio. We both take some pictures then settle into stools across a glass table. "Cheers," I say and we touch beer cans.

“Do you have brothers or sisters,” I ask.

“I have one brother,” she tells me.

“Were you close growing up?” I ask the question a couple different ways because she does not understand, then she answers.

“We were very different when we were young, and he was three years younger than me,”' she explains between sips of her Imperial. “Now we are...” she gestures with her fingers, placing one far apart from the other, then bringing them together. “How do you say...not distant, but...,” she pauses.

“Close,” I offer.

“Close. Yes. We became closer as we got older.”

A gentle breeze drifts through the upper patio. “Did you have pets growing up, or now?”

“I had a cat before I left France. I love cats. When I move to New Caledonia, I gave my brother my cat to watch but he ran away. I was very sad.” She pouts to bring home the point. “My brother and wife's son, what do you say in English?

“Your nephew.”

“Yes, my nephew like to pet the cat and chase him but my cat like to sit and sleep. He did not like so he ran away.”

“Chat noir?” I ask.

“He was black in the body, and had white on his...she gestures to her hands and looks at me for help.”

“Yes, paws. He had white on his paws.” She pauses. “I miss him. And you? Did you have cats or dogs?”

“I had fish and a couple parrots. I tried to teach the parrots to talk but they would only speak parrot,” I say. She smiles.

“Yes. I had fish too. All they did was swim.”

“What does your brother do?”

Clement's younger brother works in construction. “He builds everything...government, houses, he can build anything,” she explains. He married a Cambodian woman, a secretary in her home country. She speaks little French and so does not work. Their three year old, however, speaks some French, Cambodian and English. Talented kid.

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