He tells her that he thinks she must be a xenophile and she laughs and says, kindly, ‘You can date a Frenchman and not be a xenophile.’ He is not wrong about her love for France though. What is it they call it? The delicatessen with beaches? How could anyone not love it?
That is not what I meant, he says. I wasn’t talking about your feelings for me. Doesn’t she know, he says, that xenophilia can also mean a love for foreign objects, and she laughs again, loudly this time. Foreign objects, makes her think of losing things up her bum, for some reason, of having to go to A&E on a Friday night to have them surgically removed.
As it happens, she is not so far off the mark with that thought. ‘I am right, though,’ he says. ‘Aren’t I? You’re fascinated by objects, things that are foreign to you.’
She knows what he means now, sort of. It is true that she can get kind of obsessed with things. She will see something in a shop, something she doesn’t even need, and she won’t be able to stop thinking about it until she buys it. Her house, because of this, is filled with all kinds of nonsense.
‘I … I guess,’ she says. ‘Yeah, I guess that’s fair.’
‘I wanted to get you something,’ he says now, ‘something that I think will be foreign to you. Shall I show you?’
She has a bad feeling about this. ‘Sure,’ she says. ‘Show me.’
He pulls a carrier bag out from inside his satchel. She recognises the branding. Uh oh.
He hands it to her and she pulls out the object inside. She forces herself to smile, a big, bright, forced smile.
Of course it is something to put in her arse.