Friday, November 14, 2008

You Can Run...

I suppose it was always only going to be a matter of time before FP or I - or both of us - bumped into one of our ex’s. After all, when you move into an apartment in Versailles - the city squashed between two other towns in which our respective ex’s live – you should really be prepared for an awkward meeting in the street. I thought I was prepared...

We were doing our weekly shopping in the local supermarket when it happened. I had carefully written out my usual two shopping lists - one for the left side of the shop and the other for the right side - and sent FP off to the other end of the supermarket with his list. (This, I have found, is the easiest way to get the weekly food shopping done. Writing the list of food in order of the layout of the shop cuts down on the time spent wandering back and forth, although I have been known to become rather cross when the layout has been changed around. And sending FP off in search of certain things that I can trust him to get right - wine, tissues, lightbulbs and not soda [“I said Diet coke you eejit!”] or moisturising cream [thought this was a safe one until he presented me with a tub of anti-wrinkle cream which started a big fight] – means that I can get things done faster without him pointing at the Haribo sweets and throwing a temper tantrum until I plonk them in the trolley.)

I was standing at the frozen food section browsing the pizzas, trying to make the decision between the pepperoni (his favourite) and the goat’s cheese (my favourite) when something caught my eye. It was FP, marching down the frozen food aisle, list in one hand, pink and orange striped wicker basket in the other, and wearing an odd, unfamiliar grimace on his face.

“That was fast! You finished already?” I asked, about to send him off in search of something else to keep him busy.

He shook his head, and that’s when I noticed how pale he was. His face had lightened several shades and he looked faint.

“I’ve just seen a ghost,” FP said.

I began to laugh and stopped when he hadn't followed suit. “What do you mean?” I couldn’t understand, couldn’t make head nor tail of the situation. Could he have seen a ghost? I wondered naïvely before a second voice in my head snapped back: Don' be stupid, ghosts don't hang out in your local supermarket.

FP took my hand in his and looked into my eyes with a pained expression as though he was about to reveal the news of a death in the family. "A ghost from the past." He said. “Toad is here.”

Ah. Toad. The ex-boyfriend. French, but not a frog. He was rather a bit of a toad, actually. He was one of those men who enjoy the challenge of getting the girl, but afterwards lose interest, the novelty wearing off. He was also a man who expected to be shared with other girls, if you get what I mean.

I suddenly felt very hot as the panic built up inside of me. No, no, no this cannot be happening. Not now, not here. I knew this was going to have to happen at some point, after all we moved into an apartment only ten minutes down the road from him. Not deliberately, you understand. We hadn't even realised this fatal error until we decided to explore the area a month or two after we had moved in, and by that time we had signed a 3 year contract and had fallen in love with our new home.

"Are you sure?" I said, feeling like I might faint myself. FP nodded his head solemnly.

"He said hello to me, shook my hand, all awkwardly like."

Oh bugger. So there was no chance FP had made a mistake then. My ex-boyfriend was definitely under the same roof as me now, after over two years.

"Well where is he? I need to avoid him!" I hissed, panicking. Things ended horribly messily all those years ago and I desperately did not want to have to face him now and be forced to smile and...shake his hand. Eugh!

"He's at the meat." FP jabbed his thumb in the direction of the meat section. "I'll keep an eye on him and you hide." I watched wide-eyed as my boyfriend ran off to the top of the frozen food aisle before stopping at the last freezer and peeping around the corner, back pressed to the rows of ice cream. Feeling stressed I opened the freezer door in front of me and pulled out several boxes of goats cheese pizza - I'd be needing them when this was all over - and pressed them to my burning red cheeks, as surreptitiously as I could.

"Pssst!" FP hissed and waved me on. "The coast is clear for you. Go to the next aisle!"

"Okay," I mouthed and sprinted to the next aisle (the flour and sugar section to be exact), keeping my body pressed as closely to the shelves as possible, James Bond style. I waited, two minutes, five, six...After seven long minutes FP appeared at the far end of the aisle and gave me the thumbs up sign. He waved me on to the chocolate aisle where, because of the extreme stress I was suffering from, I flung a good few family size bars of milk chocolate into my basket. FP appeared at the other end once more.

"Chocolate aisle, very dangerous!" I whispered loudly up to him and he nodded in agreement, waving me on. We continued on several more aisles this way (which is extremely exhausting, let me tell you) until we reached the wine section where all hell broke loose. FP came running towards me, hair stood on end, panic written all over his face.

"Danger! Danger! The cat is out of the basket!"

"What?!" I didn't catch on.

"He's coming this way!" He shouted. "Run!"

And so I did. FP and I, our baskets spilling over, dropping bananas and chocolate bars behind us as we escaped, ran hand in hand to the safe haven of the hidden loo roll aisle. (Only regular clients of this supermarket know where to find the toilet roll. Tucked away as if in a cupboard, it took me three long months before I finally discovered where they kept it. Was now feeling very thankful for that strange hidden haven.)

I held my body close to FP's and tried to catch my breath. My hero looked down at me and chuckled quietly, shaking his head. "This is ridiculous!" I began to laugh along with him at the absurdity of the whole scenario when we heard footsteps squeaking along the floor. They were getting louder and louder, closer and closer. I looked up at FP and held my breath, scared to be caught by Toad. FP held me tighter and there was nothing to do but wait.

And then he appeared at the end of the aisle. He looked us up and down in bemusement and what I suspected was anger. "You cannot run in the shop like that." The security guard told us. "I'm going to have to ask you both to leave."

And so we were escorted out of the shop by the big, burly security man who had caught us in the loo roll aisle. It was humiliating and we haven't been back there since. I'm not sure we'd be welcome.

But at least I didn't bump into Toad.


pierre l said...

Did you have to abandon your shopping as well? This tale could be made into a short film!
So, now you have to find a new supermarket, and hope that Toad doesn't start going there (after all he can't find the loo rolls in the other shop, can he?).

Loth said...

Funny for us, not so much for you. I had move "chase" music going in my head all through that post!

Belle Ecrivaine said...

That's probably the most intense grocery shopping excursion I've ever heard of!! Glad you got away without a Toad sighting, but it's funny you had to get escorted out of the store like that!

Chouitie said...

Oh you really make me laugh! I can just imagine you there stuffing extras into the basket in your distress!

Ksam said...

Ha, that was hilarious (and man, did I need a laugh!). I especially loved how FP was in on it with you, if that's not true love, I don't know what is! :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE that he shouted 'the cat is out of the basket'. Brilliant!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Pierre Yes, sadly the shopping was abondoned but that was the best thing for my belly. Had I gone to the checkout and bought all those chocolate bars I'd thrown into my basket in the moments of severe stress, I think I may have been later found in a heap, frothing at the mouth due to a sugar overdose! As for finding a new supermarket, that was one of my first thoughts, but then I felt indignant and am ready to return tonight. It's OUR local!! It belongs to US!

Loth Yes, yes you had the right idea, the same type of music would have been playing on repeat in my head too, had I not been freaking out as much!

Belle Ecrivaine Intense? You bet! When we finally got home we both collapsed with exhaustion!

Chouitie Ah yes, I certainly was stressed out! And doesn't chocolate help calm people down? There was logic to it, I swear, it's not just greed!

Ah but Ksam, haven't you noticed yet that he is just as daft as I am? Whatever dumb, cringey thing happens to me, you can be sure FP is there somewhere, ready to back me up!!

Pink Jelly Baby I was rather thrown when he said this actually. I had no idea he knew this turn of phrase, and where he might have heard it! Unless the same expression is used in French...

Zhu said...

Yuck, I don't like when exes are around. The past is the past, I don't like to dig it.

I once bumped into my ex (we dated for 3 years) in France. I was by myself and not so comfortable with him. He had a new girlfriend and I was happy for him.

He insisted on having a drink at his place and then, his girlfriend arrived... it was awkward for both of us but he was laughing all the way. Yick.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Zhu I can't stand having ex's around either. I always break total contact with my ex's, I don't understand people who can stay 'friends' with theirs. A big EUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH about that ex you bumped into, what an asshole! He was probably lovin' it!!! Dick!

Kyle said...

To be brutally honest, I am a bit embarrassed to subscribe to a blog with pink trim and titled "La Belle Saison by Princesse..."


But this post was too great. Hee.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Aha Kyle! You've crossed over to the pink side! Mwuhahahahahahaha!

pierre l said...

Just to say that I'm happy to read this blog, pink or no pink. I've just noticed that the woman in the lovely drawing at the top right of the blog is wearing a dress made of words, although I can't read most of them.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Ah Pierre what an angel you are. Your words touch my heart, oh yes they do. There's nothing better than a man who doesn't mind reading a pink blog. Must mean the writing is interesting :-D