Illicit French Love: A Story

My younger French friend is pissed off because he suspects his parents are getting it on. The problem is, he is not a twelve or thirteen-year old prude as you might expect, but a well-educated thirty-five year old man.

When he was a young teenager, he went through his parents’ exemplary, very civilized divorce. They split up but decided to stay in the same town for their two children’s sake. There was no severe dispute about custody, jealousy or money. (Often the three sides of the divorce coin, so to speak.) Instead, both parents contributed to finishing the rearing of their sons and they maintained an amiable relationship while doing so.

In time, my friend’s father founded a new family with a dangerously beautiful, exotic younger woman. He had two more children by her, including a precious little girl. My friend’s mother (who always had the roving eye) settled after a while with a muscular younger man with whom she made one last–minute son.

After the divorce, my young friend first lived primarily with his mother but he left when he was seventeen because his stepfather did not make him feel welcome in the home where he had grown up. (I knew the man. I think he was a good sort who had an alcohol problem that made his moods unstable.)

My friend felt protective of his little brother, almost fifteen years his junior. He was squarely in love with his pretty half-sister from his father’s side. For more than ten years, he accommodated everyone else’s inclinations, with graciousness and even with serenity. He would dance from his mother’s often troubled home to his father’s lusciously female household, and latter, to his own modest student dwelling. He ended up feeling quite happy, having invented the role of the skillful emotional nomad.

Then, things began to fall apart on both sides of his families. His father’s younger wife slipped away to greener, perhaps more vigorous, pastures. She took with her her dreamlike daughter. A couple of years later, his mother expelled Mr. So-So because “He was only good to her part-time.”

My friend also adjusted to these new break-ups pretty well, parenting both his parents through their respective sadness and their temporary rudderless-ness. (Within the limits of modesty imposed by the surprisingly reserved French cultural norms.) Although he was himself going through the normal touch-and-go love life of any handsome, intelligent young man in his twenties while pursuing an arduous academic career, he navigated his parents’ new emotional shoals masterfully.
Two years ago, he noticed from the corner of his eye that his father was spending time at his mother’s house while he had the flu. Later, he bumped into his father at his mother’s again, early in the morning, that time. One night, he knocked at his mother’s door without warning to retrieve some possession or other. Both his parents were there. Although fully clothed, they seemed vaguely embarrassed to see him.

This is just too much, he says; you put me through all this crap for fifteen years to end up where you started. They could have saved me the roller-coaster, he complains to me.

I believe my friend is trying to keep a close eye on his parents to prevent their suspected carnal liaison from devolving into a more serious relationship. Decency is decency after all!

© Jacques Delacroix 2005 -2008


About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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2 Responses to Illicit French Love: A Story

  1. johnczaja says:

    another fabulous story from the master

  2. Bruce says:

    I think it’s natural for children to feel awkward when it comes to their parent’s sex life. Granted they would not be around if not for that very thing. I wonder if other cultures view it in a similar way to us. It’s also difficult for a father to meet his daughter’s lover for much the same reason. The taboo sort of makes something’s better left unspoken or thought about. As for the case you present, his mom and dad have a right to carry on any way they want. He has the right to be pissed about it. Maybe time will heal the wounds of their relationship. Life is too short to be told who we can or cannot sleep with. Legally speaking of course.

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