The Malachite Curse 3: Ju-Long’s anger and Eu-Meh’s disarray

The Malachite Curse 3: Ju-Long’s anger and Eu-Meh’s disarray

31 August 2014

Eumeh

“She was beautiful and good, an authentic generous soul who wanted to help others and did everything to enable her mother and herself to live in dignity after the death of her father. I saw her grow and know .. “said Ming-Hoa when the crash of a chair thrown back stopped him in mid-sentence. Startled out of his dazed state, he was surprised to see Ju-Long standing before him with clenched fists, his face livid, his eyes filled with a palpable hatred.

“Enough,” cried Ju-Long. “You do not know her old fool! You could not know her. To even think such a thing is a sacrilege, a crime against nature”.  With every word he inched threateningly towards Ming-Hoa  whose eyes, widened in surprise with their pupils dilated with fear, were the only area of faded color like silicon crystals in his pale face.  Ju-Long looked at the eyes of Ming-Hoa rolling in every direction with an urge to close his eyes forever. To close them as those of Cuifen were now closed.

Cuifen and her eyes like purple lakes in which verdant trees seemed to have cast themselves. Cuifen who looked at him with laughing eyes like a rainbow after a storm when she handed him the reins. Cuifen who lay dead a few feet away from him, a few feet away from that old fool who dared to say that he knew her. He wanted to pass a magic eraser on those words spoken by this villain whose excesses were only equaled by his nastiness.

“Ju-Long! ” cried Eu-Meh. She did not understand what had come over her nephew to dare make such a scandal and what’s more was that it was during the oration! She thought to herself that she must have really failed in his upbringing since the death of his mother for him not to recognize the values that her sister had tried to teach him: to respect elders and the resting of the dead, to never interrupt sacred ceremonies! What could she possibly have done wrong to deserve such a shame? She had always worked from day to night and night to day to be able to put food on the table and her nephew had never lacked anything. Every time she got up at dawn to resume work at the bakery after a few hours of sleep, she prayed to Buddha that he would bring a little peace to this young man who had become so sullen and angry after the death of his mother.

She had always known that Ju-Long was a vivacious young man and his perennial teenager behaviour had often made him go from one setback to another but since he had started frequenting Cuifen it seemed that a change had come over him. From the day she had introduced him to Cuifen who volunteered to work at the stable, Ju-Long seemed transformed and had come out of his shell happy to exchange gossip and laughs with Cuifen. He who usually was so secretive often came to her to reveal a few secrets, most of which revolved around Cuifen: the house where she would like to live,  the dreams she had of going to the big city to live with her aunt and embracing a career as a singer,  the changing color of her eyes when she laughed, the scent of her neck when her hair was in a bun and she knelt beside him to check the horses’ hooves and a thousand other details that seemed to him of the utmost importance. Eu-meh listened to him with a mixture of tenderness and amusement including when he had disclosed to her his “strategy” to ensure that Cuifen fell in love with him.

-Easy, he said. Just listen to her talk and say yes to everything she says. Just promise everything to her and she will be madly in love. Am I not handsome, younger and richer than she is? If in addition to that I agree to do whatever she wants, she will love me.

– Are you sure you understood Cuifen, darling, ‘she replied. You know, girls today are no longer satisfied with what we felt was acceptable to us seniors. They have other desires today.

– She wants to be a singer and I will help her accomplish this dream. She cannot possibly not love me if I do this, he had concluded triumphant

Eu-meh had watched him with a mixture of curiosity and pity. How little did men understand women’s heart and its complexity. Everything seemed to them so simple and so logical. She sighed with regret, thinking of her own disappointments in love. Had she not been herself a victim of such simplistic reasoning that her boyfriend had displayed a long time ago? She thought about her fiancé who had gone to war, about all those letters he had written to her and she had read with resignation, without a shadow of bitterness. Today she could admit it to herself even if it had taken her a long time to achieve this. She had been glad he was leaving for the war and that he would no longer be at her side watching her every move and dictating her conduct. In her heart of hearts, she wanted so much to be like Cuifen with no father that could force her to marry a man of his choice. She herself had had no choice and had to accept with a heavy heart to give up her studies and start learning the ways to live the life of the perfect wife. As for Cuifen, she was free to choose with only parent a mother who not only did not stop her from walking freely but more importantly seemed glad to send her alone shopping and dealing with other chores even when this was to go to the old Ming-Hoa.

She had never understood how Chow did not realize anything about Ming-Hoa’s infatuation for Cuifen. If Chow had been a sentimental woman she would have quickly realized that it was not a paternal feeling that drove Ming-Hoa but rather something completely different and more carnal. But Chow was not sentimental and could not afford the luxury of being so. Soon after her marriage to a drunkard, Lee, who beat her and had spent all her money on drinking, she had given birth to Cuifen, almost on the sly one day while she was weaving a wool rug for sale. She had scarcely uttered a sound during her labor and as soon as Cuifen was born, she had cut the cord that connected them both with a scimitar that was the only legacy she had left from her ancestors. A few months after Cuifen’s birth, her husband had died by drowning in a rice field; He had been so drunk that he had not been able to raise himself up from the few inches of water in which he lay face against the ground.

At the news of his death, Chow had expressed no sorrow but had accepted it with the same stoic resignation as that with which she had accepted the blows inflicted by Lee. She had just asked in a dull voice if we had found the axe with him and if they were willing to return it to her so that she could carry on with that work as well now that her husband was dead.  Eu-Meh who had accompanied the bearers of the news had not been surprised that Chow was not sorry that her husband was dead though the remark about the axe had left her in a pensive mood. “What a strange woman” she had thought to herself and had felt  a shiver run down her back at the sight of the expressionless face of Chow.

A strangled cry pulled her abruptly out of her daydreaming. Ming-Hoa, his face contorted,  was struggling to break free but without much success from the grip of Ju-Long who was holding him by the throat. Ju-Long, eyes bulging, face contorted seemed overcome by a fit of madness and his hands around the neck of the frail old man seemed inordinately large and rough. He was screaming “It’s your fault old fool. It’s your fault. You’re just a dirty old man, a debris, an aberration of nature. It’s your fault that she died. ”

All of the men’s help was required to tackle Ju-Long and contain him and once on the ground, he burst into tears and continued to murmur like a mantra, “Your fault, your fault, your fault ..”

Ming-Hoa who was trying to regain his dignity took a wobbly step back before freezing in his tracks as he felt  against him Cuifen’s cold tomb. He turned slowly and looked at the beautiful face of Cuifen who seemed to be asleep. She was so beautiful and peaceful in her sleep.

– Arise, he cried suddenly to Cuifen. You’re not dead, you cannot be dead. I held you full of life in my hands. Your heart was beating like a wild bird. You were full of life. You are full of life, get up, he shouted more vehemently.

He began to shake the tomb and two men had to leave the fray caused by Ju-Long to restrain him as well. Everything suddenly accelerated and they decided it was best to bury Cuifen quickly before her sight could provoke further damage. Some remembered how seeing her had made their hearts beat quicker and thought to themselves that she must have cast a spell on all men for them to lose their sanity. Some of the men slid the tomb on wheels to take it to the cemetery while the others continued to restrain Ju-Long whose sole purpose now seemed to kill Ming-Hoa. This latter seemed to have lost his mind and was moaning in a hollow voice, “Arise Cuifen. The time of your resurrection has come. “He went on in a louder voice,” Get up, you cannot die because you are mine and you will do as I command. ”

Throughout the fight, Chow had remained motionless, her ashen face covered in tears streaming silently down her cheeks. But when Ming-Hoa uttered his last sentence, she seemed to snap out of her torpor. She turned towards Ming-Hoa, her face contorted with hatred.

 

Read the earlier chapter – Ming Hoa’s oration

The Malachite Curse 2: Ming-Hoa’s oration

The Malachite Curse 2: Ming Hoa’s oration

29 August 2014

Chineseman

When Ming Hoa had to face the look of Chow, he felt a cold chill run through him and had to look elsewhere. She definitely knew what had happened was trying to drive him crazy. He had tried to make amends for his wrongdoing by providing a funeral in great pomp for Cuifen but to no avail. It seemed to him that Chow was like a demon determined to track down every bit of sanity within him and drive it out of him in a frenzy of vengeance. Not only was she fully aware of what had happened and wanted to make him lose his mind by giving him the place of honor in the seating but she also openly flouted it by forcing him to perform the funeral oration.

Ming Hoa was not particularly superstitious but he could not help thinking of the old legends that told how the spirit of the deceased stayed with the one who had made the oration as long as such person still had feelings for the deceased. Chow had to know the intensity of his feelings for Cuifen and therefore wanted him to suffer eternally because Cuifen would never leave him and he would be forever haunted by the pale glow of her bright face. Fever seized him again despite the gust of the wintry wind blowing into the temple. He got up, stood in front of the assembly and cleared his throat.

“Cuifen was a very kind and sweet-natured girl,” he said. “She had the beauty of those who do not need any artefacts and saying she was beautiful would be an understatement as she was a sparkling splendor.” The image of Cuifen, eyes half-closed watching him flashed in front of his eyes and he felt faint. “In the beginning,” he continued, “I did not realize how kind she was. She was a wonderful girl who never hesitated to help Ju-Long, Eu-meh’s nephew, at the stables for all of us to have healthy horses to transport the mail”. “She was beautiful,” he carried on.

Cuifen with her little velvet headband that held her hair, Cuifen with her frenetic desire to live, Cuifen whose successive layers of clothing had made him think about matriochkas, Cuifen who denied him calling him a vulture. Cuifen lying dead beside him …

He had never understood exactly how it happened. One moment he was holding her while she inflicted on him a severe pain by pulling his ponytail carefully knotted at the neck and the moment later she lay dead beside him. Since that day the world around him was colored gray and he had gone about minding his business like a lost soul, colour-blinded and sentenced to not see any other color than the brilliance of malachite Cuifen’s eyes donned when she smiled. He was sometimes also obsessed by another color when he allowed himself a thought of the poppy made ​​of three large spots that stood against his immaculate white pants: blood red! He had asked himself when waking up with Cuifen dead at his side from what mysterious illness was he suffering for him to want to absorb the smallest particle of this blood that flowed from him, a little as if to regenerate himself in self-sufficiency. However he soon realized that the blood was not from him but from a small wound in Cuifen’s temple. A small hole made by a sharp object that was shaped like the profile of a small poppy. Like a human blotter, Ming-Hoa would have liked to absorb every drop of blood that had flowed out of Cuifen.

Damn it, he thought. Why had she refused? It was totally incomprehensible after these few weeks when he had observed how she tried to tease him. Besides he had been drinking a potion of cloves and therefore had a very good breath when he had talked to her before her death. It was probably prejudice against old leaders of his type who had lived in splendor while the others had experienced poverty in a simple home. When he was transferred after the revolution to his old neighborhood for the restructuring of the old post office, he knew he would face taunts since many people in the district had never accepted him as one of their own.

Ju-Long watched Ming-Hoa with eyes full of hatred. For him the old fool was an anomaly and an aberration of nature that he would have gladly done without. He found that his body was reminiscent of a delta where putrid flesh would have filled the role of sediments and fetid blood the role of water seeping into his old carcass. Ming-Hoa’s facial skin was indeed so wrinkled that it looked like strata of unidentified origin. He thought about the role being played by the old fool in Cuifen’s funeral and jealousy tormented his heart. He felt rising in him an irresistible urge to put his hands around the neck of the ridiculously thin Ming-Hao and tighten his hold until the latter could no longer utter a word.

Eu-meh looked fearfully at her nephew. She felt that he hated Ming-Hoa more than she could ever hate another person. She had never been able to accept the bombastic speeches of the old fool and understood that many did not like him. Something bothered her, however, in Ju-Long’s anger. It was a cold and murderous rage. She gazed for a while at his profile before looking away. The night of Cuifen’s death, he had returned with haggard eyes, circled with purple rings. Without a word he had taken one of the packs of drink that had been left on the table since the wedding of his cousin and had swallowed it in one gulp. She remembered the black fury she had read in his eyes that day when his eyes had met hers in the mirror.

Read here the earlier chapter “The passage”

Read here the later chapter Ju-Long’s anger and Eu-Meh’s disarray

The meaning of pain

The meaning of pain

23 August 2014

pain10

We often find ourselves in situations that we think unfair that cause us what we think is undue pain that we do not wish to accept, that we think are not meant for us, should not exist in our lives

What we tend to forget though is that such situations exist to help us evolve, learn about ourselves , our limits, learn tools that would be necessary to help ourselves and help others in often similar circumstances.

When I talk about pain, I do not talk about mere physical pain inflicted upon one by another or by oneself but about the pain that is borne out of hardship, the pain that one feels when unknown change is about to happen in one’s life, the pain that one feels in being engrossed in the feeling of failure, of helplessness or exhaustion, in brief, the pain of letting go of what one is used to, one’s control over one’s life and accepting what is to come.

There was a time when I would feel punished for having to go through any sort of pain but after some events where what I learnt during times of hardship was put to good use later on, I started realizing that pain was not an idle item in life. Pain had a mission and it was about exacerbating the sensation, the feeling to a point where the mind becomes totally malleable and receptive to the ideas and lessons gravitating all around one. Every single item in life is a teacher and every atom bears a lesson to be learnt.

After these experiences, I now welcome such pain for I know that it will teach me something about myself that it will teach me something that will allow me to help another in difficult times.

I do not mean that one should be like a masochist seeking pain. There is a difference between seeking and attracting pain and accepting it in your life if it is meant to form and transform you into the person you are meant to be.  Without pain in one’s life, one would tend to want to glide away into the oblivion of an easy life, not realizing what one’s fellow human beings are experiencing.

We surround ourselves every day with idle items of life in order to escape feelings while to feel is the greatest treasure of all. One of the funniest examples of this is the interaction you will get when you say that you are really not doing well to someone who just asked you whether you were “ok” and just meant it in the social sense without heeding your response. More often than not, the person would have just responded “good”, not realizing what you actually said. We tend to live our lives in an automated way, blending into the most current thoughts, the most usual ways of expressing oneself in society without actually thinking and feeling what is happening within and around us.

We don’t want to think. We don’t want to feel. There are even a multitude of expressions thwarting from feeling in every human language a few examples of which in English are “man up”, “it is not worth crying about”, “it will pass”, “grit your teeth and move on”, “be strong”, etc. We are so bent on not feeling the hardships that come our way that we only go through them gritting our teeth and holding on tight to our hope it will be over quickly while we go through it. What we forget is that the hardship is the goal of the moment for it is teaching you precious insight about yourself and about your surroundings. We are meant to feel every inkling of what is happening while we are in the eye of the storm, to think about it and not about when it is over, to ponder on our reactions while we are living it not to paint a rosy picture of what will come after the hardship and cling to that rosy thought. We are not meant however, to completely dissolve in our pain, thoughtless, full of abjection and of self-reprisal but we are meant to be active receptors of the pain, welcoming its effects on our psyche and using its energy to transform.

Pain is the catalyst of change. It is a wake-up call, a reminder that we are here not to accumulate wealth or anything material but a range of experiences and interactions that are meant to help us all evolve.

Above all, pain is a reminder that we can feel, that we are not numb and that the dulling of our senses is not meant to be, that we are meant to feel and thrive on feeling.

When one accepts pain as well as its lessons and integrates that discovery into one’s being, the only outcome of pain is love, an all-encompassing love for one’s human state, for what we are, what we could be, what we are meant to be, what we shall become.

Doing good or doing bad is not a question of comparative returns, it is a question of a lucid choice

March 27, 2011

Doing good or doing bad is not a question of comparative returns, it is a question of a lucid choice

I often hear around me “What’s the point?”, “That fellow does not deserve any good done to him. He is totally ungrateful and you can expect nothing back from him”, “And now what?”, “toughen up”, “get real”, etc.

I had never really thought about the point of it but given the number of objections I kept facing, I decided to dwell upon the matter to see whether there was a point and I noted down some of my thoughts for sharing simply my views.

When you do something bad, people are so used to bad things happening in the world that they don’t question it at all. It seems natural to them as they expect it and they will react in the only way they think they can react to it, i.e. they will either be neutral or they will do something bad back to you.

When you do something good on the other hand, the reaction is something that you will not expect and cannot even begin to fathom. Some will be neutral, a rare few will be grateful, an even rarer few will return you that good but most will react negatively. By doing good, you take this majority by surprise and off the expected lines of their trodden known path so they will question your motives and try to prove by all means that there was a hidden agenda. Amongst this majority, some will grow hateful; they will despise you for what they feel as being held in your mercy as gratitude to them is an unknown concept that simply equates to being held captive of a need to return the favour. Some will go to great lengths to prove their point by searching for signs that they may use against you and will dwell on your every communication to try to put some shady light on that deed that you would have done out of simple kindness. Some will question your character, your integrity, will search for the exchange you were expecting in what they see as a transaction and failing finding that exchange will simply label you a fool that has been used and/or abused. Some will jeer at you for having been so gullible and some will feel sympathetic or pity you for being so easy to be taken advantage of.

In time, the good you might have done, can be coloured to make it seem like the darkest evil that you could have ever performed. I have seen it happen even in charity given where it first started out as “oh he certainly did it for the tax reduction” which then progressed on to “he has so much money and all he could do was give some miserable amount, on top of that just within the limits of what is tax deductible and he even wants to keep a control on that, the control freak. With all that money he made ripping off people, of course he had to settle a score with his conscience or at least pretend to have one. He is just a pretender, a liar and a thief. I wish rich people like him would lose all his wealth and then we will see whether he gives a dime when he is a pauper. I hope he rots in hell”. By the end of the transformation (up to the point I heard of it at least), the person was no longer a kind-hearted person giving to charity, he was a black-hearted devil trying to pass off as a good person and whom his fellow human beings wished the worst of evils.

It is therefore easier to do bad than to do good if you set aside the conscience and the morality of it. It is all the more easier if you were expecting something in return for the good you did as you are statistically faced more often by a negative retaliation than a positive reaction. Doing good can take you aback and force you to review your values if you were expecting a positive reaction to the good you did. Does that mean that we should do evil rather than good? Of course not. It simply means that when you do good things, you must be prepared not to receive good in return but the worst of evils and take it with serenity. You do good because this is what you believe in, not because you expect something out of it. You do it because beyond anything, beyond the universal law of karma that calls for harmony and the flow back of what you disseminate within the universe, you do it because you want things to change in the proper direction and believe firmly that the path to that change is by doing a random good deed.

And when all is said and done, if there were just one person whose life you made better by doing something good and who appreciated that, simply, without ever offering you anything in return, it would have been worth all the stream of negative opinions and reactions you would have had to face. For one small candle can shed light into the deepest of darkness and the hope that should remain forever engrained in your heart is that as the flame ignites and lights your path, so will the many other candles that a gust of wind might have blown off on a cold winter night.

As Gandhiji said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Partir c’est vivre un peu

26 mars 2011

Partir c’est vivre un peu

 

Elle pensa qu’elle n’aura jamais le temps de partir avant son retour. Les événements du jour précédent se bousculaient dans son esprit comme des couleurs qui s’entrechoqueraient au fond d’un kaléidoscope. Plus elle songeait à fuir, plus elle se sentait pétrifiée. Il lui semblait qu’il n’existait aucune issue et qu’elle était prise comme un bout d’emmenthal dans un sandwich entre deux plaques du toaster qui fatalement la feraient fondre, la ramenant ainsi à sa perte.

Partir, partir, partir. Elle ressassa ce mot jusqu’à l’exaspération de son esprit qui se révoltait contre ses litanies incessantes, ses indécisions lassantes. Partir oui, mais partir sans une quête, sans l’idée d’une conquête. A quoi bon ? Partir, mais comment et comment s’organiser, comment le faire ?

Mathilde faisait les cent pas devant son automobile et n’arrivait pas à se résoudre à s’y glisser au volant et prendre la poudre d’escampette avec son bébé profondément endormi dans son Maxicosi. Soudain elle détacha son bébé, tourna les talons et rentra dans la maison. Elle n’arriverait pas à conduire dans son état. Autant prendre le train plus tard se dit-elle. Elle remit le bambin dans son berceau et il continua de dormir imperturbable. C’est qu’il avait tellement tété sa mère qu’il en était complètement rassasié et dormait d’un sommeil profond et réparateur. Elle lui caressa la joue avant de descendre vers la cuisine. Machinalement elle sortit le balai, l’aspirateur, le seau et les divers liquides pour nettoyer les sols et les autres éléments de la maison et se mit à faire le ménage. Tout y passa, du sol jusqu’au plafond en passant par les rideaux, la vaisselle, les jouets d’enfants qui jonchaient le sol du salon. Elle s’arrêta un moment en se rendant compte qu’elle disposait systématiquement tout ce qu’elle rangeait en quinconce. La douleur d’aujourd’hui pour une raison inconnue égarait son esprit sur ce chiffre cinq.

Cinq. Les cinq enfants qu’elle aurait eus si l’un d’eux n’était pas tombé suite à un accident de ski l’année d’avant lui laissant son jumeau libre de se développer dans son ventre et si le tout premier, il y a de cela longtemps, n’était pas sorti sans un cri. Cinq si ce tout premier, aussi mort que son cœur, n’avait pas dû être expulsé à cinq mois et demi dans un accouchement glauque où la mort l’emportait sur la vie. Donner naissance à la mort en étouffant ses cinq sens pour ne garder aucun souvenir de ce moment et pourtant l’avoir gravé à jamais dans sa mémoire et à travers les cinq sens si vivants à ce moment-là : la douleur de sa chair, la vision du docteur, du plafond blanc blafard, l’odeur d’ammoniaque et de surmédicalisation si caractéristique aux hôpitaux, le son qui ne venait pas, assourdissant à l’oreille malgré le fait de savoir que le bruit n’y serait pas et les paroles, rageusement encourageantes, oppressantes, inutiles de la sage femme qui demandait de pousser encore et encore parce que ce serait bientôt fini.

Elle se leva rageusement et descendit en courant vers le sous-sol où elle laissa libre cours à sa douleur. Elle se sentait l’âme patriotique en partant en guerre contre les toiles d’araignées et les moutons de poussière qu’elle avait laissés s’accumuler dans le sous-sol de sa maison. Ces balles grises et tristes de crasse qui s’échappaient du sous-sol dès qu’elle secouait les tapis lui firent penser aux fredaines d’autrefois que lui contait son mari et qui, pour elle, avaient autant de crasse que ces moutons de poussière malgré la légèreté dont lui voulait les voir vêtues. Elle secoua encore rageusement les tapis qui n’en finissaient pas de relâcher leur crasse dans l’air. Combien ces tapis pouvaient-ils encore en recéler se dit-elle rageusement.

Elle se dit que si elle avait su avant, elle n’en aurait fait qu’une goulée de cette dernière crasse qui n’était pas une fredaine d’autrefois mais une réalité bel et bien d’aujourd’hui. Folie d’hier ? Non, bien d’aujourd’hui, se dit-elle en tapant encore fortement le tapis qu’elle tenait alors que ses larmes se mêlaient librement aux particules qui s’échappaient du tapis et tombaient lourdement par terre ou rendaient la poussière de nouveau prisonnière du tapis. Décidément, ce sol gardera une trace bien vive de son passage aujourd’hui. Tout avait été ôté, dépoussiéré, poli puis remis sur les étagères. Elle inspira profondément et se mit à marcher telle une automate vers la cuisine où elle prépara machinalement trois sandwichs pour les enfants qui allaient rentrer de l’école affamés et la nounou qui les accompagnerait. Ensuite elle se retourna pour saisir la raclette en se rendant compte qu’elle avait oublié d’ôter l’eau par terre. Elle en profita pour essayer de fermer la porte du frigo avant de bondir en arrière comme sous l’effet d’un électrochoc. Elle avait oublié qu’il y avait toujours ce mauvais contact que son mari n’avait pas réglé et que ses pieds nus étaient au milieu d’une mare d’eau. Le courant en passant à travers son corps l’avait hébété mais avait aussi stoppé net son élan de ménagère en furie. Elle se releva, se tâtant la main encore lourde et douloureuse et entreprit de finir d’éponger l’eau pour éviter que l’un des enfants n’ait à supporter le même incident.

Elle redescendit lentement à la cave pour voir si elle n’avait pas oublié quelque chose. Son œil fut attiré par le carton qu’elle avait laissé au milieu de la pièce ne sachant pas si elle devait remonter son contenu ou le laisser en bas. C’était un carton plein de 45 tours. Au-dessus de la pile trônait un disque d’ABBA et quelque chose de nouveau se brisa en elle à la vue de ce palindrome. ABBA, le BABA du savoir deviner, du savoir renifler ces veuleries, elle en avait manqué. Elle se saisit du disque comme des autres qui suivirent et entreprit de les casser en deux avec méthode.

Ensuite elle se dirigea vers la cave, ouvrit la porte avec la clé accrochée à un clou à gauche de la poignée et regarda les bouteilles qui ornaient le mur : les bordeaux grand cru pour les occasions spéciales côtoyaient les côtes du Rhône, les blanc de blanc, les bouteilles de champagne et quelques bourgognes rares parmi d’autres vins moins chers. Elle ne buvait pas mais s’il y avait une occasion, c’était bien celle-là. Comme résoudre ce dilemme ? Elle prit la première bouteille de Champagne hors de prix qui rencontra ses doigts nerveux et que son mari lui avait dit de ne pas déboucher à moins qu’il ne lui en donne l’autorisation. « Oui, quelle bonne idée », se dit-elle, « sabrons ce champagne » mais elle se rendit compte que le sabre de Samouraï était dans la chambre à coucher alors elle le sabra à même le mur. Elle but quelques gouttes et se tailla un peu à la commissure des lèvres. Elle prit une autre bouteille, un château Margaux à la robe qui se devinait profonde et qui alla se fracasser contre le crépi de la cave à vin. Bien d’autres connurent le même sort.

Quand elle quitta la cave, la mare saumâtre qui décorait son sol n’en finissait pas de faire des bulles qu’elle laissa frémir dans l’obscurité en éteignant la lumière. Elle referma la porte derrière elle et s’adossa contre elle en se frottant les tempes de ses doigts engourdis par ce travail machinal. Au-dessus d’elle elle entendit des pas et des rires tandis que les enfants rentraient de l’école avec la nounou. Elle se regarda dans le miroir de l’armoire de la cave et eut un choc en voyant son visage livide barbouillé de larmes et de suie. Lentement elle se dirigea vers la bassine de la chambre à lessive et entreprit de se nettoyer la figure et les mains poisseuses. Elle se débarrassa ensuite de ses vêtements souillés, prit une robe légère pas encore repassée qui était pliée dans une corbeille au-dessus de la machine à laver et l’enfila. Ensuite elle gravit deux à deux les marches de l’escalier qui la séparaient de ses enfants et se précipita vers eux les bras grands ouverts. « Maman ! » s’écrièrent-ils en chœur et elle les pressa contre son cœur.

Ils avaient encore tellement de choses à lui raconter et elle n’en finissait jamais d’être surprise et émerveillée qu’ils en aient autant à lui raconter à chaque fois en retournant de l’école. Pourtant la veille elle les avait écoutés encore émerveillée et leurs récits étaient différents. Chaque jour ils vivaient des choses nouvelles et chaque jour, eux comme elle s’émerveillaient de pouvoir vivre des choses aussi intéressantes.

Dans sa chambre, leur frère venait de se réveiller de son sommeil profond et béat après sa tétée vigoureuse de midi. Il laissa échapper un long cri plaintif de celui qui a de nouveau faim et Mathilde et ses enfants se regardèrent d’un œil complice. « Il va falloir encore donner à manger à ce petit gourmand » dit sa fille d’un air coquin. Mathilde lui sourit doucement et lui donna la main. « Tu viens m’aider à le changer ? » lança-t-elle à l’égard de sa fille. Son fils aîné les suivit en clamant haut et fort qui lui aussi voulait s’occuper de son frère et que ce n’était pas réservé aux femmes que de changer les bébés. Tous les trois gravirent les marches de l’escalier se dirigeant vers le son plaintif du petit gourmand qui réclamait encore son garde-manger. A trois, ils eurent tôt fait de changer sa couche et ensuite les deux enfants regardèrent leur mère se mettre dans le grand fauteuil et l’aîné lui mit le coussin d’allaitement sous son coude tandis que sa fille rajustait les couvertures autour de son petit frère. Mathilde caressa doucement la joue et la petite bouche s’entrouvrit pour accueillir le téton nourricier. Et tandis que la vie s’écoulait dans les goulées qu’avalait son fils, Mathilde sentit la vie revenir à nouveau doucement dans son cœur.

A mon grand regret les garçons naissent dans des choux et les filles dans des roses

21-22 février 2011

A mon grand regret les garçons naissent dans des choux et les filles dans des roses

 

Je le/la regardais encore qui se tenait droite comme une asperge. Je ne savais plus si je devais dire elle ou il. Finalement en regardant de plus près pendant qu’elle sortait son miroir pour retoucher ses lèvres, je me dis qu’utiliser le féminin serait de rigueur. La transformation avait été si bien réussie qu’on avait de la peine à croire qu’elle avait été un garçon autrefois. Le guitariste qui avait animé la soirée Andalouse caressait de touches finales une guitare avec un plectre qui semblait fait en corne. Il salua dans un anglais approximatif ponctué de quelques « yeah baby » et le temps de nos applaudissements, son visage rayonna comme étoilé par cette gloire fugace. Visiblement plus rien n’importait désormais des interruptions du gérant durant le spectacle pour annoncer telle ou telle voiture qui bouchait le chemin de sortie aux clients quittant tôt le restaurant. Le vieillard s’était accommodé de ces interférences dans son show parce qu’il savait qu’au bout il allait boire jusqu’à se griser au calice de ce triomphe passager et que notre salve d’applaudissements serait comme l’hostie qui viendrait sceller sa communion avec nous. De le regarder ainsi s’extasier de si peu et de vivre un tel bonheur dans cette bulle limitée de vie était roboratif pour mon esprit toujours à la quête de réponses et je me disais qu’il suffisait vraiment de peu de chose pour être heureux.

Nous nous levâmes après un repas qui aurait pu mettre dans le coma le plus gros mangeur du monde et je marchai en la suivant. Sous les quelques lampes qui s’empressaient d’étoiler le passage sombre qui nous menait vers la sortie du restaurant, l’illusion était parfaite.

Je me souvins de tous ces courriels que nous nous étions échangés avant de nous rencontrer grâce à ce voyage qu’elle avait entrepris jusqu’ici et de la dépendance affective qui émanait de ses écrits. C’est au fil de la lecture de ses écrits tantôt très provocateurs et assurés tantôt manquant totalement d’assurance et surtout bourré de fautes d’orthographe que l’image d’un autre elle s’imposait en filigrane en ma tête. Au fur et à mesure des contradictions dans son discours et de ses élucubrations de mythomane, je me suis rendu compte que c’était un être qui vivait visiblement un tourment quotidien duquel elle voulait s’échapper en s’improvisant preux chevalier pour la cause d’autrui. . Elle était tantôt membre d’une version moderne des chevaliers de la table rotonde enrôlée dans une quête d’un nouveau Graal de vie, tantôt la détentrice d’un pouvoir occulte qu’elle hésitait à révéler aux non-initiés ou encore prête à s’embarquer pour une carrière de trappeur dans le Grand Nord, voire au Canada. En fait tout mensonge fabriqué pour se distinguer du lot, faire croire qu’elle appartenait à une élite autrement plus importante que sa propre personne semblait lui convenir.

Dehors, le vieux guitariste qui était sorti par l’entrée des artistes, soit à dire la porte exigu arrière des cuisines du restaurant, enfourchait une moto et je notai un détail amusant avant qu’il ne mit son casque : il avait mis un vieux bonnet de laine sur la tête qui lui couvrait les oreilles pour se préserver du froid sans doute. Je me tournai vers mon amie que j’avais précédée sans trop y faire attention perdue dans mes pensées et repensai à nos échanges.

Elle ne prenait désormais même plus la peine de ne pas se contredire ou d’accorder quelque véracité et un suivi aux promesses faites dans ses écrits précédents. A peine une excuse totalement ridicule et qui tenait tellement peu la route qu’on eût dit un grand éclopé de première. Il est vrai que je suis plutôt impassible par un exercice de tout temps de patience et prête à croire la personne si elle se fait une place dans mon cœur. Il est aussi vrai que je suis un peu trop prompte à laisser les gens prendre une place dans mon cœur s’ils me touchent de manière significative. Elle m’avait touchée avec ses mots, le récit de ses mésaventures et je n’avais jamais réalisé que tout ceci cachait en fait une autre histoire qu’elle aurait voulu raconter mais qu’elle n’arrivait pas à exprimer de peur de ma réaction. Du coup, elle inventait mille autres mensonges pour échapper à son quotidien. Le pire c’est que le tissage entre ses mensonges et la réalité était tellement bien fait avec les quelques preuves de certains faits extraordinaires mais vrais qu’elle avançait qu’il était difficile de distinguer le bon grain de l’ivraie et la plupart des personnes autour d’elle n’avait donc d’autre choix que de prendre pour acquis tout ce qu’elle disait.

Cela dit, certains de ses mensonges avaient attisé ma curiosité et en amatrice sans relâche des procédés de détectives ainsi que mue par le souffle d’un sixième sens, je m’étais mise à étudier ses photos. C’est ainsi que je me suis aperçue qu’elle avait une pomme d’Adam qui semblait s’être évanouie dans le temps, grâce sans doute aux traitements hormonaux. Je n’avais pas de photos plus anciennes, par exemple de l’adolescence – âge ingrat où il est difficile de travestir sa nature – et il n’était donc pas possible de vérifier ma théorie de manière non équivoque mais une bonne âme crut bon de me prévenir de son ambivalence. Bien que mon témoin indésirable semblât axer ce choix de conversion sur la luxure, je n’en étais pas convaincue. De son enfance où elle avait été traitée de baltringue et d’une naissance en chou alors qu’elle s’attendait de naître en rose, elle avait dû garder un déchirement qui avait justifié ce choix. En fait quand j’y repensais, peu m’importait qu’elle fut homme ou femme comme peu m’importerait dans deux ans que mon linceul soit mer ou terre. Elle avait été un temps mon amie et rien ne pouvait changer ceci. Il me restait cependant le regret, celui poignant et amer, de ne pas pouvoir désormais me fier même à ses élans les plus sincères et de vivre donc cette amitié faite de distance. Cela me faisait d’autant plus mal que je pouvais m’imaginer qu’elle penserait que c’était dû à son secret mais en mon for intérieur je savais que c’était mieux ainsi. Comme on fait son lit on se couche, comme disait le proverbe populaire et elle portait sa part de responsabilité dans cet éloignement. Sa venue de si loin ne changeait pas grand-chose à cet état de fait. Je la regardais belle, resplendissante pleine d’effusion amicale et ressentis encore ce pincement de regret. Ne pouvais-je lui pardonner sa supercherie ? Pourquoi fallait-il que je sois aussi intransigeante avec les relations humaines? Il faudrait que je change me dis-je mais c’était trop tôt encore et je rangeai mon cœur dans son tiroir des désillusions. Demain est un autre jour me dis-je tout bas. Nous verrons.