At the railway station, a few metres in front of a café, I held up a piece of cardboard torn from a box, upon which I had written in black ink marker-pen:
“I BET I CAN GUESS WHERE YOU’RE FROM WITHOUT HEARING YOU SPEAK“
Claude looked like he had time to kill, waiting for a train connection. I watched, as he sauntered towards me, looking thoughtful. All in one motion, placing his briefcase onto the ground, clasped between his ankles, he pointed at the sign with his index finger, then pointed to himself.
I looked at him for a few seconds, with a blank expression on my face. “Belgian.” I said, forming an innocent smile.
Claude jerked backwards, as if a fairytale ogre had appeared behind him and given the collar of his coat a sharp tug.
. Seriously, after a big build-up at home, lots of self-coaxing, lying to myself in the mirror, and pumping myself up with outlandish self-talk, I garner enough courage to attend the inaugural meeting of the very first, official, Support Network for Introverts and Over-Thinkers. Or, “SNIOT”, for short. . I’m bang-on a strategic ten minutes late and guess what? No one else is here aside from the Cleaner, head down, vacuuming the carpet in small figure-of-eight patterns.
Soolking and Myriam, Kabyle people of Kabylia. As well as feeding me and preparing a bed for a night, Myriam taught me some words in the Berber language, in case you need it on your journey, she said. .