Dear Mom and Dad

by Chris Van Orden

I'm sorry I haven't written you in a while and that this is going to be such a strange email, but I've been really, really busy with the painting, I've yet to adapt to the European keyboards, despite months of practice and the prices at the internet shops are astronomical unless you take them up on their special offers to pay by the sentence, which is the only feasible option for shoestring budgets like mine. There's a grizzled old Parisian man looking over my shoulder, counting my sentences as best he can with his limited English - that's where I am, by the way, Paris, for the past 2 months, living on the Rue du Poteau with my new girlfriend, Antonia (mom, you'd love her - super sweet girl - and dad, you'd be be impressed, check the photos in the next email). Antonia and I met when I got stuck in Barcelona last May after I got robbed at the Plaza Catalunya (I'm fine, Mom) by these four teenage kids who Antonia - my erstwhile pottery instructor - knew from the neighborhood and convinced to return my wallet, a valiant rescue which I compensated with a fine, home-cooked American dinner of meatloaf and green beans, where we really hit it off and wound up moving to our new place in Paris, which is over a patisserie (unreal pastries, Dad, you'd love em) and which I help to pay for with the money I make as one of those cycling gondolier-dudes that you guys always point out when you're on vacation. So all in all, I'm good, Mom and Dad, safe and sound, hoping to talk to you guys soon or maybe even see you if you have the time for a quick jump across the pond, what with Stacey's college search (how is she and tell her hi) and the dog and the jobs and everything else going on back in the good old U S of A; in any case, I love you all very much and miss you and all that. Oh, and please send money. I'm hungry.

6S

Chris Van Orden is a delightful young man, living, studying, and doing other things in Philadelphia. When he's not gracing the world his winning smile and rapier wit, Chris writes for The Pennsylvania Punch Bowl. He is also a handsome devil.