The three women haven't yet met, and we instead first see them making their way in the world, soon to have each of their lives change that will set them on the path to Paris. So it is that we come upon Racine Tarascon, a gypsy, wandering on her own.
In a small country village, a couple was eating lunch inside a café. Outside, Racine Tarascon watched as the wife washed down a mouthful of cold chicken with some red wine. Her husband swallowed half a croissant. It all looked good to the hungry gypsy. A bite of the roll would have looked good.
She strolled down the street past an épicerie, the groceries inside lining the shelves almost seemed to be laughing at her. An apple cart stood out front, piled high. As she passed by, it became short one apple.
Racine was quick with her hands. She’d been on her own for too many years, and ever since that day – she only cared to think of it as “that day” – it was live by her wits and quick hands. A lot of apples had given themselves to a greater duty, she laughed. So had a lot of things that hadn’t protected themselves well-enough.
Walking on, she bumped into a wealthy man. “Watch it, mon frère!” she snapped at him aggressively.
The man took one look at the ragged clothes of the ragged young woman and scoffed. “You have no right to speak to me like that.”
“And you have no right to think you own the street.” She would take no affront from anyone. It didn’t matter who they were, how fancy they were.
“You walked into me!” the man challenged right back, saying he had half a mind to call the gendarme for assault.
Racine threw her hands up in disgust, and said something about being absolutely sure he had half a mind, and walked on. And turning the corner, she pocketed the wallet she had just picked.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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