Meredith looked up as the wooden bus bench squeaked in
protest at being forced to support yet another bottom. The man smiled
at her and nodded, and not to be outdone, she mirrored the action.
“Salut!” he answered.
Meredith’s smile widened as his accent tickled her ears, but after a
long, awkward silence of staring at him dumbly, she returned her
attention to the crossword in her hands. She penciled in the answer for
an eight letter word for naïve and then moved on to the next. Her
eyes lit up with excitement as she read it, and turning to the stranger
beside her, she cleared her throat. When he looked up from the
newspaper he was reading she smiled and nodded again.
“You don’t happen to know a ten letter word that means ‘the
untying of complexities in a plot’ do you?”
“Le mot, c’est probablement
“Pardon? No, I think it starts with the letter D.” she checked the
crossword again and nodded, “Yes, it definitely starts with a D.”
“Oui, je sais. Je vous dis que le mot
est ‘denouement.’ ‘Denouement,’ absolument.”
“Non,” she spoke slowly,
enunciating each syllable carefully, “ze word, it starts with le letter
The man smiled and nodded his head, “Ahh,
la lettre ‘D.’ Excusez moi. Je crois que ‘débile’ est le mot
correct.” Meredith frowned and the man smiled and repeated, “Débile.”
“Debile?” she mangled the
accent, but spoke with a self-satisfied air. “How many letters is
The approach of the bus cut off whatever the man’s reply was, and with
a polite nod and a tip of his hat, he boarded and found a seat for
himself at the very back. Meredith followed him on board, but took a
seat right up near the driver. As the bus pulled away from its stop her
cell phone rang.
“Oh, Carrie, Hi! I’m just on my way there, I should be there in ten
minutes…Okay, sure…No, the wait was quite short, and pleasant. I had my
crossword puzzle and I had a conversation with a very pleasant French
man….No, of course I don’t speak French, but every Canadian learns
enough from reading labels to be able to carry on a short
conversation….Okay, see you in ten minutes. Bye.”
Le mot, c’est probablement
‘denouement.’: No problem, the word is ‘denouement’
je sais. Je vous dis que le mot est ‘denouement.’ ‘Denouement,’
absolument.: Of course, that’s what I said, denouement.
Ahh, la lettre ‘D.’ Excusez moi.
Je crois que ‘débile’ est le mot correct.: Ahh the letter
D, silly me, I believe débile is the word you’re looking for