Hmmm.... those are very slow footsteps after a ride. Definitely not normal Frenchman behaviour...
The saddest face I have ever seen came around the corner.
"My shoe, it's.. it's...it's broken...!"
He forlornly sticks out his foot. Sure enough, the clasp on his cycling shoe is broken.
He looked like a little puppy who has had his favourite toy taken away.
and has lost his mother.
and is stuck outside in the pouring rain in a thunderstorm.
and it's the middle of winter.
etc etc etc.... you get the picture.
I was waiting for the whimpering noises to begin any second.
Ok, so these aren't just any shoes, these are brand new, carbon, specially-moulded, stupidly expensive cycling shoes that my lovely parents bought him for his birthday (my dad always did want a son to indulge with pricey sports gadgets - the Frenchman and my sister's boyfriend benefit well from his bad luck with genetics).
So, broken shoes. At least for once this is something I could sympathise with - if anything happened to my Louboutin's... nope, not worth going there.
But there's such an intense look of bereavement on his face, that I'm having to do my best not to laugh: No, I'm sorry, it doesn't look like we can fix the shoes ourselves babe. Hey hey hey, chin up!! They're faulty, so we'll just send them back and we'll get you a new pair next week. I promise. Yes, I know a week is a long time but we'll find a way of coping, Ok?
No tears, brave little soldier.
And this was just the shoes - can you imagine if anything happened to his bike?! Maybe I should find a counsellor's phone number to put in my blackberry.
Just in case...
p.s - The Frenchman is competing in a stage of the Tour de France on 17 July and raising money for leukaemia research, a cause very dear to his heart - so if you read this, please, please, please take a little bit of time to sponsor him at http://laurettefugain.alvarum.net/teamrondy2011. Every little helps.
It's the French equivalent of 'Just Giving' and is very easy to donate, even from the UK!
And it'll help keep his chin up through these dark, non-carbon cycling shoe times ;-)