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May 2, 2018 by The Citron Review

by Jackie Sizemore


The train spits us out into Normandy. We’ve arrived safely despite having the wrong ticket, and by wrong, I mean we didn’t buy one. I should have known a Paris Pass wouldn’t work in Normandy. I narrate the guidebook—my specialty. After the train, we can take a bus or a shuttle to Giverny. I talk quietly so no one will hear me mispronouncing the French names. We walk up and down stairs hunting for the exit, holding our polka-dot umbrella to the side, dripping. A man towers in front of a squat, half-sized train, plastic covering over the windows. I scan for signs.

Four euros each, round trip to Giverny.

It’s a tourist train, I tell you, like at Disneyworld. I forget you haven’t been to Disneyworld. The train is cash only. I zip open my yellow wallet; our hands search every available coat pocket. We have nine euros and change between us. The guidebook warns there are no ATMs in Giverny, but how am I supposed to know this also means the whole village is mostly cash only? A retired couple jumps the line, but the train-man says all the spots are full now anyway. He points us stragglers toward looming city buses up the street. They are four euros each, one way. A bad deal, I whisper to you.

The tiny train pulls away.

I am in a middle-school math problem: If you and your partner are in Vernon on your last full day in France, and you want to keep the majority of expenses on your credit card so you can split everything when you get home, and you only exchanged one hundred euros each, knowing you would need some cash and lots of sunshine for visiting Monet’s garden in Giverny, who’s fault is it that it is raining?

The answer is: Neither.

A new problem begins: If you and your partner are huddled under a polka-dot umbrella in Vernon, and you have nine euros and change to spend, and the bus to Giverny costs four euros for a one-way ticket, should you (A) walk the seven kilometers now, and hope that it stops raining by the time you get to the gardens, or, should you (B) ride in luxury knowing that, with your luck, you will be walking a cold, wet, miserable seven kilometers back to this same metro station?

The answer is: B. Of course it is.


With no hometown to speak of, Jackie Sizemore comes from the Rustbelt, the South, and Tokyo. Her work has appeared in Opossum, Paper Darts, Eastern Iowa Review, and Ravishly‘s Long Reads with work forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review. She received a Wyoming Arts Council Professional Development Grant and was a Deming Memorial Fund finalist. Jackie coaches application writing through her business,, and writes freelance articles about pop culture and education. Follow her @sizemorepov.

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IMAGE CREDIT: Jill Katherine Chmelko. Protest Road, Winter. 2019.

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