The Forest by the Beach

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We’re writing yet another sequel to this French comedy I watched so many times. Same plot, actors a bit older. Working title? La famille en vacances (“the family on holiday”) or Août en famille (“August with my family”).

We don’t need a script, we all know our roles.

Wherever you are in the world, whatever your background is, I’m sure you are familiar with the hard-to-define but easy-to-understand concept of family dynamics.

“Do you have Internet on your phone?” Mark asks my aunt.

“Yes, of course.”

“Can I… huh… check YouTube? Just to show you.”

She laughs. “Nope.”

Nice try, Mark. This kid is desperate. “There’s no TV, no Internet, here! I hate this stupid holiday!”

He changes his mind when we go to the beach but the rest of the time, life without YouTube isn’t worth living.

It’s too bad he isn’t fluent in French. Dialogues are priceless around here, especially when the two sisters, my mom and my aunt, are bickering over minor things.

“Where is your cat?”

“Upstairs.”

“We can’t leave the cats together in the same room.”

“Mine won’t go anywhere.”

“Well, if you leave the window open…”

“It’s closed!”

“I’m taking mine to the living room because we’re airing out the bedroom.”

“Fine, then! But then it’s my cat’s turn.”

“Your cat is shedding hair everywhere!”

The worst part is, these aren’t really my mother’s and my aunt’s cast—one belongs to my sister and the other to my cousin. Apparently, owning a cat is too much responsibility on the long term so they dumped their respective pets on their parents. This is usually when I spitefully point out that if anyone is willing to keep Mark for a few months when he’s too much trouble, please let me know.

“Oh, Juliette…,” my mum sighs. “Don’t say that…!”

“If I’d argue with my sister as much as you argue with yours, you wouldn’t be happy!”

“Well, the two of us are… we have a long history together.”

“So do I. I’m 35, Adèle is turning 30.”

“It’s different.”

“Yeah, right.”

I catch myself joining the bickering, which has reached infantile levels.

Saint-Michel does this to you.

There’s a sense of timelessness about this place. Houses look older, trees are noticeably taller than when I was a kid and I don’t feel like riding my bike up and down the street but we all act predictably and it almost feels like the 1990s without TV and Internet access.

Sorry, Mark. No tablet. Go out and play.

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

La Pierre Attelée, Saint-Michel

Plage de Gohau, Saint-Michel

Plage de Gohau, Saint-Michel

Plage de Gohau, Saint-Michel

Plage de Gohau, Saint-Michel

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

4 Comments

  1. hey Mark! come to my place this winter, I’ll take you to stunning beaches in my country! you also need to escape from SNOW! :)) ah ya, agree with Youtube, I hate it when my niece (bit younger than Mark) insist to borrow my phone!

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