“I’m coming Allie, sorry I forgot my travel pouch.” Screaming as I race down three flights of stairs, I miss my footing at the bottom step, and stumble into the arms of my “boss” who is laughing at me…. “Well, Jasmine, please wait until we get to France before drinking!” Both giggling, we give each other a comforting hug. Although I work for Allie, I am employed by her parents. I have been her son’s nanny whilst Allie completes her uni exams.
You see, Allie has been the wayward daughter of some very wealthy Londoner parents accompanied by an EX (thank goodness) deadbeat boyfriend who unfortunately proved her parents right by leaving her high and dry once their son was born. I have met him a few times and, yes, it was obvious he was a knucklehead. Allie is a beautiful young lady, very quiet and a wonderful mother. My contract is coming to an end. I have become more of an older sister to Allie and, as a “thankyou”, her parents are sending Allie, Ciaran (her three-year-old son) and myself to their “holiday” house in France.
With my suitcase in hand, I walk onto the tarmac for an adventure I will never forget.
Waking up in France is like a dream. We aren’t in Paris or some big city. We are in Toulouse (down south); it is everything I can imagine, here in the French countryside.
Allie drives us around for the day visiting castles and having coffee with “patisserie” at the market. I appreciate this so much and love every moment. Leaving the last town square, Allie says we will take the “scenic” route through the forest. It is truly beautiful. Ciaran has fallen asleep in the back of our little old French car on this glorious Sunday. As we come around a corner, we notice a couple of men waving at us yelling, “Pull over!” Allie and I look at each other, I say there is no way we are stopping to help some strange men…we are two young women, NO WAY!
Not thinking much of it, we proceed on our drive, continuing to chat, and marvelling at our surroundings. We start to see many, many, more people waving and also now violently yelling at us! “What on Earth is happening?” I think. I wind the window down and among all the noise I yell something that sounds mightily like, “GET OUT OF THE WAY YOU IDIOTS!”
As I turn to Allie, she has turned an ash grey. Staring into the rear-view mirror I turn around, seeing nothing but a plume of dust billowing up covering everything. There is no time to contemplate what is happening. Without another second passing, our tiny little car is bombarded with rally cars that come screaming up behind us. Allie and I start screaming; she is flapping her arms; I am screaming at her, “You can’t drive if you don’t hold the wheel!”
“GO, GO, GO!”
We both start crying and shaking. We can’t see anything as the dirt and dust is swirling all around us. The vibration of the cars racing past us makes our little car rattle (I have a vision of us sitting on the dirt with our car open like an egg, something out of Mr Bean).
There is nowhere to pull over but finally, like Heaven’s door, the trees open up and we come out of the forest and pass a FINISHING LINE.
People are everywhere, cheering and screaming. A helicopter hovers above and there are cameras to the side of us, and there is us in a small old French car, putting along, bawling our eyes out, red-faced and barely able to talk.
The three-year-old is now wide awake, sitting in the backseat, smiling. He thought this adventure was fantastic. “Mummy, we were in a REAL RACE!” Hence to say we have a quiet drive home BUT soon warm up with some very nice French wine from Allie’s parents’ cellar. We laugh and laugh for hours, we laugh until we can’t breathe, even writing this I still laugh about this moment in my life that is unbelievable but actually happened.
Jasmine is a member of June’s Writing Clan which gathers weekly at the Leopold Community Hub on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria. Clan members inspire and motivate each other through participating in weekly writing warm-ups and through sharing progress on their main writing projects – both fiction and non-fiction. Jasmine assures me that her story about the unexpected adventure with her suitcase in France is true. Her memories of the day remain vibrant many years later!