A: I’m a shell of a man today
B: I love that every time we see you guys, you’re wearing the same thing
C: we like wearing the same thing, we love it, we always coordinate in the morning
B: here, we can add to it
A: I left myself at home
B: with the gift of matching gifts
A: I don’t know who I am, or if I was ever even my own person
We get on the train. I am pissed off, so we don’t buy a ticket. ‘Fuck it’, I say, ‘they won’t even check.’ We slip across the border into France and the train slows and dark-dyed white men with police eyes scatter onto the train like ants. We get off, of course. Heft our backpacks up and put on our ‘Oh yes, this is our spot, beautiful Menton’ faces. We stand at the ticket machine at the station pretending we didn’t just get off the train. The police lug two black men off, sit them on a bench, say ‘Beautiful day!’ in jaunty Gallic accents. We walk outside the station and walk back in, speak to the woman behind the glass, say ‘Grazie’ and ‘Si’ instead of ‘Merci’ and ‘Oui.’ We don’t need tickets. We never did. We sit at the opposite end of the platform, carefully away from the milling police and the quiet-faced black men. We stare at the sun and the mountains and marvel that people actually wake up here every morning and put on police uniforms and police belts, one of which now presents itself in front of our eyes. We look up and the man is kind-faced and I can’t stop looking at his gun. He asks us who we are, he tells us about his son in New Zealand, he teaches us to count to ten in French. His eyes sparkle and I think he will be a great Santa when he gets older. Our laughter tinkles like windchimes in the morning heat. The next train arcs into view and his face crisps up, he bids us adieu, and as we step up onto the carriage, we see more black men being pulled off to sit on benches in the puddles of gorgeous European sun.