Author Kristin Espinasse
Author Kristin Espinasse on the vineyard she shares with her husband

Perched on the edge of the bed, I’m putting on my make-up. It’s 10.30am and the washing machine is already whirling away. In the next room, I’ve hung out the previous load on theétendoir. There’s homemade potimarron soup simmering on the stove and, just up the hall, my book manuscript lies open on the desk.

Just as I reach for my mascara, I hear my husband’s purposeful footsteps in the hall. It’s just like clockwork! The minute I’m sitting down, seemingly pampering myself, my better half shows up! ‘Better half’ because he’ll certainly assume that he’s the one ‘who does all the work around here’ when he catches me preening! Why is it that when I’m slaving away with the mop he’s never around, but when I pull out my mascara wand – poof! – he appears?

If I’m sitting on the bed, applying my make-up it’s because we have a visitor coming to our vineyard this morning. Otherwise, I might be doing something more industrious, such as tidying up the ‘mud room’! I hate being caught like this, apparently whiling away the day. All that’s missing from this incriminating scene is a symbolic box of bonbons! But if I’m to be mistaken as a lady of leisure, then shouldn’t the bed be littered with golden candy wrappers? Oh, what a misleading picture this is, especially when you take into consideration l’éfficacité – the art of doing three chores in the time it takes your husband to brush his teeth!

By now the footsteps are getting louder and my husband has arrived at the bedroom door. I’m just waiting for him to react as he usually does, upon seeing me looking into the mirror. “Tu vas au bal?” he’ll snicker, which always ruffles my feathers! Only this time, I won’t let him tease me…

“In case you are wondering,” I say, pre-emptively, “no, I am NOT going to the ball! You may not think I have anything better to do, but I can assure you I DO!”

Having accidentally stepped into my line of fire, the innocent bystander inches backwards, saying, “Chérie, tu te trompes complètement!

This time it’s my turn to be taken aback. I look up and notice that boyish face and those endearing lips – which are dotted with dried toothpaste. His soft eyes express the truth: that each of us works hard and there’s no need to explain ourselves or to ‘keep score’. It’s now time to let down my defences and get on with the task of grooming – though the job might be more enjoyable had I some dainty chocolates to nibble on! On second thought, his peppermint lips will do just fine!
French Vocabulary

guerre des roses = war of the roses

un étendoir = a clotheshorse (a type of

indoor clothesline)

le potimarron = a kind of squash

tu vas au bal? = are you going to the ball?

le bonbon = candy

Chérie, tu te trompes complètement = Dear, you are sorely mistaken

 

From France Today magazine

 

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