The Frog Flatmate

Faits Divers

This word for incidents of daily life reported in the news doesn’t quite seem to exist in English. The following fait divers of my life blends at some point into fiction. Then, aren’t most stories we tell each other in some way fictional by the time they leave our mouth?

Fait Divers 2

As I was enjoying a turnip leaf salad, my new landlady, a performance artist, showed me a plastic box with a frog and some spinach. I was only ‘ouvindo’(listening) and not ‘escutando’(listening attentively), as the two verbs in Portuguese go. In fact, it seems there should be a third verb (in English too) for only half-listening, for seeing the shape and rhythm  of the words without absorbing any meaning. I assumed that she kept  a frog. ‘Did you understand?’ ‘Well, no. ’(I wasn’t ‘escutando’).

She repeated in English, ‘I was washing the spinach from the supermarket when I came across this frog. It’s amazing.’

Yesterday, I asked her what she did with the frog.

‘I put it in the park, when I put in down it began breathing very hard, it’s lungs expanding in and out. As it breathed in the air in made a very big effort and …’

She hesitated as she poured her tea. She in fact sincerely understood when I said that the main culture shock for me was the unavailability of tea. She too, like every good Portuguese girl or boy drink coffee too.

‘I gave it a goodbye kiss and It leapt into the grass.’

This morning the second vacant room in the house was occupied by Otto. He said he came from Denmark last night.  He is already running a bath now. He has green eyes and is vegetarian. There’s a whole stock of Spinach in the fridge. However, there’s nothing to suggest he’s a Prince. What does the modern supermarket frog change into I wonder?

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