January 16th, 1990

January 16th, 1990

Lagos, Nigeria

Laney and I were sitting at the hotel bar, deeply engrossed in a conversation about goodness knows what, when suddenly my attention was drawn to the sound of French voices in the lobby. I turned, as discreetly as I could, to see what was going on and of course Laney clocked my movement.

“What are you laughing at?” I asked.

“You and your penchant for all things French.”

“I don’t where it comes from.”

“Have you spent much time in France?”

“Not really,” I said, trying not to think about the disastrous time I had last summer, with Ben.

“They’re checking in,” she said, glancing over my shoulder. “They look like film crew.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Didn’t you see all the equipment they have?”

“You didn’t let me look long enough,” I laughed.

We ordered another drink and continued chatting. A short while later, Laney whispered, “Don’t look now, but two of the film crew guys are heading in our direction.”

Instinctively, I turned slightly.

“Don’t!” she mouthed in a way that made me laugh.

Two (perhaps three!) drinks later, Jean Jacques asked, “You are sisters, oui?”

“No”, Laney laughed. “We’re just mates.”

“Mates? I do not understand this mates.”

“We’re friends,” I said.

“Friends,” he said, gesturing to Alain. “You are mon ami, Alain, yes?”

“Oui,” Alain muttered into his empty glass.

Jean Jacques looked at Laney. “You and car en, you are a pee friends?”

“A pee?” she asked.

“Yes, like ha ha ha,” he said with a mock laugh.

“Non,” she stated. “We fight like cat and dog.”

“You av a dog?”

“No,” she said shaking her head.

Jean Jacques looked at Laney like he was studying her face. “So you av cat?”

“No,” she said, biting the inside of her cheek in an effort to stop herself from laughing. I had to look away because I knew if she caught my eye, I’d end up on the floor, laughing.

“I am sorry,” he said. “I do not understand.”

Laney slid off the barstool and stepped in front of me. She placed her hands gently around my neck and pretended to shake me.

“See, Jean Jacques? This is us fighting,” she said, continuing to grapple with me.

“Ah, but oui,” he smiled. “You are the dog and car en is the little cat.”

Merci, Jean Jacques, merci mon ami!


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