Between buildings we passed by a pharmacy that had in its display window a large poster advertising some sort of mysterious medication. The image on the poster was a soft black-and-white shot of a nude woman looking off into the distance with her breasts completely exposed to view. This sort of thing was typical on every commercial street. When it wasn't the pharmacies it was the tobacconists advertising magazines with topless women on the cover or just random sidewalk billboards advertising lingerie.
When I first started my mission it took some effort to train myself to look away and later to convince myself to just be blasé about it, as if I didn't notice or care. But I was getting so lazy and sloppy about everything these days that I allowed myself to follow the line of the model's perfect breast and to linger for a second, taking in the shape of it.
As we walked on I thought about how my companion had probably at that very moment been carefully forcing himself to look away. Only four more days to go, I thought, and tomorrow was the last work day...
As we were walking back to our apartment, we ran into the office elders, Elder Gladwell and Elder Young. Elder Beaverton stopped them to ask if they had any information on the transfers that were coming up.
<- previous page
"Not yet," said Elder Gladwell. "All we know for sure is that Elder Dietrich is going to be going on splits."
"Ah, maybe you and your new companion will get to go around with him," I said to Elder Beaverton. "Won't that be fun?"
"So we have an odd number this time?" asked Elder Beaverton. "What happened, one of the new arrivals have visa problems?"
"There aren't any new arrivals this time," said Elder Young.
"Really? Why?" I asked. For a long time now we'd been getting fewer and fewer arrivals from the MTC. So as people went home at the normal rate, the mission was dramatically shrinking. Elder Beaverton, despite being out for six months, was one of the greenest around (or rather bluest, in French terms)...
"Well, you didn't hear this from me," said Elder Young, "but the rumor that's going around is that they're thinking of eliminating the Bordeaux Mission and maybe merging it with the Marseille Mission."
The office elders always had all the good gossip!
"Well if no one is arriving, how can we have an odd number of missionaries?" asked Elder Beaverton. "I thought an even number were leaving."
"Nope," said Elder Gladwell. "Elder Cannon is being sent home early."
"What? Why?" I asked.
"Well of course they don't tell us directly," said Elder Young, "but it's got to be health-related. He was just hospitalized the other day."
"Really? What happened?" I asked.
next page ->