Back in France, running into my neighbour (a girl about my age who lives downstairs with her parents and brother) and her mum, who were trimming the rosebushes below the windows:

‘Helloooo!’ she trills. ‘Coming back from a walk, are you? Lovely day! Say, I had a question to ask. You’re not pregnant, aren’t you?’

‘Um, no?’

‘I knew it! It’s Hélène from the other building, she was convinced you were pregnant after meeting you last night. I said you weren’t, but she really thought you were. But you’re not!’

‘Well, no, I’m not,’ I said, a bit more tersely than before. ‘You can give her my thanks, though. Well, it was nice seeing you.’

‘I knew it I knew it! She was really convinced, you know. She said, Are you sure she’s not pregnant, because her tummy’s peeking out and all! But I said no. Ooooh, she really stepped in it this time, didn’t she?’

‘Um. Yes. Nice seeing you. Give Hélène my regards next time you’re discussing my tummy.’

‘Wow, she really stepped in it. Don’t worry, anyway, I’m not talking to her anymore. She said she would watch over my dog, and she didn’t even do it! Can you imagine that? Mum! Hélène stepped in it big time, she really thought Cécile was pregnant, but I was right, she’s not!’

Her mum turned towards me. ‘Don’t pay attention,’ she said. ‘People around here can be such gossips.’

Point well made, my dear. Point well made.

(funny how much easier it is to feel confident about your body shape when people don’t actually spend ten minutes explaining you how your belly fat makes everyone think you’re pregnant. Well. I just need to get a less stressful and more physically active job in the next couple of days, I suppose. Easy as pie.)


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