NEVER TRY TO CONVINCE YOUR FATHER TOO HARD
It was one of these days in everyone’s life that the
person would like to forget. I guess, you
know it way too well, my fair reader. Nevertheless, this is where my
story begins. In one of the small towns in Eure-et-Loir. The name of it doesn’t
matter, so I won’t bother you with it. At first, I guess that I should
introduce myself. My name is Camille de Bernasack, and if you’re a citizen of
Paris you might know me as captain Narcisse de Chouchayan’s first soldier. I think you will ask how
comes that a simple girl with no roof over her head is so close to a fine
captain of the King’s Archers. Well, if you have enough patience to read the
whole story, I will introduce all of it.
“Uhm… I know it’s not my business, but why on earth, you never moved to Chartres, to live with your mother? Sorry, but we both know too well, that your father is… uhm…” Sometimes Patrick didn’t know how to express his mind.
“A drunker? And he likes easy women like Julie? Believe me if, this would be so banal I’d move long ago. However, then, who’d make me laugh and be my friend, if I’d leave you?” A playful grin came across my face.
“You know. The Gypsies are travelers… I guess I could go with you, if you’d promise to…”
I gave him this sarcastic look that he knew all too well.
“You know you’ll never have me. Sure, we know each other for over ten years, but come one. We're like siblings.”
“Lie! I know you feel something more towards me! If you wouldn’t you would never give me so much! Remember this money you got from your father for your last birthday? You spent it on clothes for my little sister and me!”
“Because I’m your friend, you fool! FRIENDS!” I lost my patience. For last few months Patrick was acting this way too often. “How long am I to repeat it?”
“Until you will agree for being with me! I can give you more than your father! Do you know what love is? That’s something I can give you!”
We were sitting on a short stone wall next to the mill he lived in. But now I got up and looked at him like at some kind of… outcast?
“Look, I have enough of this topic. You know I like you a lot, and that you’re someone important to me, but I don’t love you, not in the way you’d like me to. Try to understand me. I don’t wanna lose such a close friend. Remember when we were younger, when you hurt your finger, and I made a cut on my own?”
“Yeah, we promised to each other to be siblings until the end of our lives. But we were only eight then!”
“A vow is a vow. Think of that. I don’t wanna lose you, but I will never agree to be with you as someone more than your sister.”
For the first time since I could remember I was glad to see my father coming over. He grabbed me by the arm and pulled into the direction of our house. He was totally drunk. His red face and deep irregular breath told me that. As we were at the door, he pushed me inside, and forced to sit on the bench next to the stove. Julie and the kids were already in their room, upstairs.
“Okay, ya little… at last you will move out!”
“Has mother sent for me?” I asked with faith.
My father laughed loudly.
“Of course not! She forgot about ya long ago! You’re getting married, Yoenaï!” I hated this nick name. My grandfather, who served in the navy as a general, gave it to me. “Monsieur de More had chosen you for his oldest son’s wife.”
“Oldest? So, how old this guy is?” I asked. For last few years, I had rather bad manners. Too much time spent on work in the fields with common boys. True I couldn’t work in this way, but as long as no one was controlling me, I could do almost everything, or rather everything I thought was right. “If he’s thirty or forty, forget about this stupid idea!”
“How dare you! I’m trying to find someone who’d marry a woman at your age, and you try to refuse?!?”
“Yeah. Furthermore, speaking of my age, I’m still fifteen, I’d like to remind you. Only a year more than a minimal age for the marriage.”
“So, you say ‘no’ to me?”
“As laud as a thunder.”
My father got even redder on his face than he was only few minutes ago, and his eyes were burning with madness.
“Get out of my house! Take your things and get lost!”
“With pleasure!” I yelled and went to something I could call my room. From an old box, I took all my belongings and used bag. I put everything into this bag, and stormed out the house without even saying goodbye to Julie, my step-siblings or my father. I ran towards the mill, in hope that Patrick isn’t angry with me anymore. I knocked to the door of the house next to the mill. “Good evening, is Patrick home?” I asked.
“Yes, please come in, Camille. My, what happened?” The Miller as he saw my big bag.
“Well, let’s say that I escaped from marriage. My father wanted to have one person less to feed, so he decided to find a husband for me. And of course, this man occurred to be as old that he could be my father.”
“Where will you go now?”
“Chartres, maybe? Not sure yet.”
“Your mother moved to Chartres, didn’t she?” Asked Miller’s wife, who already led me to their kitchen.
“Yeah. But I’m not so sure if she’d be happy to see me… I haven’t been there for three years, and she didn’t send me a single letter…”
“Oh, you poor thing.”
“Nah, I’m used to bad conditions of my life.” I said with a big dose of sarcasm.
“Well, it’s way too late to travel now. We won’t let you go before sunrise.” The Miller ordered.
I liked this family. When my mother moved out and my father started to drink even harder than before I was often spending nights at theirs. In a way they were my family. Right now, the Miller, his wife and little son, together with the Gypsy family sat together around the table to have a supper. Of course, they also asked me to join them, so I had a good meal after over a day without food in my mouth. They were a poor family, but they loved each other, and that was enough for them. Patrick with his parents and sister were already part of it. The siblings were calling the Miller and his wife “uncle and untie," and Miller’s son was like a brother to Patrick and Sophia.
That night I couldn’t fall asleep. I was just resting on the bench that was a bed for me, only looking through the window at the dark sky full of stars. I was wondering what to do next. In the morning, I have to go somewhere, no matter where, just to be far from this sleazy town.
“Hey, Camille, you are asleep?" Patrick asked, as he came over to my place. He came over with an alight candle, so even if I’d be asleep, he’d wake me up with the light.
“No. What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I just wanted to talk to you.”
“Maybe let’s go for a walk?”
We went out. It was cold, but I liked it. From a distance, I saw the house I once lived in. There was still a candle in the window, so someone was awake. Then I saw the figure of my father and Julie. I already knew what was going on there, because I noticed my father taking his belt, and leaving the house.
“Oh, tubes and thunders! Quick, let's hide behind the mill. My father went to look for me. I bet! He can’t find me! You know what the belt means?”
“Yeah, okay, stay here.” Patrick forced me to hide among bushes. “I will bring you your bag, some food and I’ll show you where to go, so he will never find you.
“Okay, but be quick, he might wake up the Miller, and ask about me. Remember that my father’s drunk.”