Luc lived in a caravan on a neighbouring campsite. It seemed to be the way things were in the South of France during the summer. He had two friends, both men, who were quite a lot better looking than he was, but it was Luc who was the life and soul of the party, at all times. He sang a lot, too. Even when he was having a chat with his mates, or looking for a pair of socks, he often sang what he wanted to say, so that, in the end, I was disappointed when he didn’t.
He took us to all the places where he sold his stuff, so Carol and I toured the neighbouring villages and towns, free to look around during the morning, and meeting up with Luc and his friends for lunch, which was always lively and fun, and generally delicious too. I have photos, somewhere, of Carol in her favourite green bikini and me in my yellow one, in most of the places we visited. We were young. We didn’t need clothes. The fact that no one else was wearing swimwear didn’t even cross our minds at the time.
Everything was going well until Charles arrived at the campsite. It made me even more sure that, no matter how much I liked Luc, we would never be more than friends.
Carol said I should tell him how I felt, that he was more serious about me than I was about him, but I was the world’s best procrastinator, so even though my intentions were good, I failed to mention anything until he found out for himself.
Charles started work in the crêperie and Carol and I started eating pancakes at lunchtime and dinner. He was tall with blondish curly hair, quietly smouldering, and had a smile that could kill at twenty paces. He played a lot of French rock music on a battered cassette player, which stood on the counter. The music was not up to much most of the time, but he did have everything ever produced by Jimmy Hendrix. When he wasn’t working, which wasn’t often, he sat around with his friends next to the boules pitch, which happened to be near the tennis courts.
Needless to say, my game became increasingly energetic and unabashedly girly. It must have been obvious to everyone, except Charles of course, that I wanted to be introduced.