What Language Was That? By D.I. Jolly

High school wasn’t particularly kind to Jarad, it wasn’t cruel either, but he had spent most of it dumbly in love with the prettiest girl in his class, Lucy. He was also in the unfortunate position of being her, quote-unquote best friend. The one she would tell all her secrets too, call a brother, complain about the way her boyfriends would behave badly and generally string along as an ego stroker. He wasn’t an unattractive man either, but he’d managed to fool himself into believing she was the one and so missed any signs from other girls who developed crushes on him. When high school ended they had tried to go to the same university but Jarad wanted to go into computer programming and Lucy art and design, so ended up in very different place. She had cried when they parted ways and even drunkenly kissed him. A kiss that haunted him for the first six months of university, and was the cause of many a long boring conversation with dorm mates. But with their help and the help of much alcohol he eventually forgot about the kiss, got over his childish infatuation and let Lucy drift to the back of his mind as his first love. Over the next few years, he learns the art of dating, enjoyed the wonders of morning sex and decided that the last thing he wanted to do with his life, was become a computer programmer. Lucy, on the other hand, loved the lifestyle of being an artist at art school, made friends with writers and poets, put flowers in her hair and generally floated her way through the whole experience.

After dropping out Jarad decided to go in search of himself through the medium of world travel. What he had learnt in his two years at university was that he loved a good party and good people, and after a solid year of bouncing around, he met the second great love of his life in a bar, on the beach, on a Greek island. He quickly cancelled his flights further, got a job in the same bar and decided that he would enjoy his life. On the day he left his home he thought back to his time in high school and promised himself that he wouldn’t stay in a situation he knew wasn’t perfect or working for him, but also wouldn’t leave a situation that he saw a future in. When he specifically thought of Lucy he remembered just how important it was to be honest with himself about which was which. Island life suited him, his new girlfriend taught him the joys of surfing and he discovered that he looked damn good with a tan.

It was a year of beauty, mental peace and general prosperity. Until the morning Lucy crept back into his mind. He found himself wondering what she was doing, where she was and how she was, if she was single and, in darker moments, with his surfer body would he finally have a shot with her. Weeks continued like this, as his mind spiralled away from the good his life was to the mythical ‘what if’ of his childhood fantasy. He started distancing himself from his true love and she instinctively knew something was wrong but could never imagine what. And then one day, as if a sign from the Gods themselves Lucy, ever so slightly, staggered into his bar. She had grown up to be even more beautiful that he could have imagined. They locked eyes cross the bar and he could feel his heart rate begin to climb and for a few seconds he was the boy in high school dumbly in love and willing to drop everything to spend time with her, in the hope that she’d notice him. Then she opened her mouth, and the exciting reunion he was expecting vanished from his mind and he strained his ear. He turned his head and wondered what she was saying. Her face contorted for a moment and she repeated herself and he once again had to really think about what language she was even speaking. Then suddenly it hit him. She’d taken French in school, and that’s what she was speaking now, badly. She was in Greece, speaking bad French to a man she’d spent every day with for 5 years, and didn’t recognize. A broad smile slipped across his face and he realized that she was a sign from the Gods, and the exact sign he needed.

“Sorry, what language was that?”

“Oh, you speak English. Great, I’ll have 2 beers and 2 shots of tequila.”

For a moment he was tempted to push the point that she hadn’t answered his question, but he was in that moment far more excited to get her what she needed so that he could go out onto the dance floor to find his girlfriend. From that moment he realized Lucy really was the girl everyone had always said she was he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he needed to find his true love and propose.

And that’s exactly what he did.

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