DEDICATION and PROLOGUE
DEDICATED TO GISELE AND VINCENT CHELIN
Having left Jean-François is the deepest regret of my life. And yet our liaison was anything but a romance. It was a love-hate all along. There were moments when he was more than I could bear. There were others when he made me deliriously happy.
Here I stand alone at the mercy of a foreign city. A foreign city that I mistrust. Nevertheless I have ended up in Paris by my own free will.
Do I really mean FREE?
Why not - if freedom is a necessity avowed. If being free means to go where one is driven because escape is the only reasonable way out.
“Reasonable” -another word whose true meaning Jean-François made me understand.
There are not many things that Jean-François left as they were. A small part of myself remained truly mine. The rest attached itself to him with the untamed tenacity of a Siamese cat ready to prove his neurotic affection in a fit of rage.
I did not intend to encounter Jean-François. He was imposed upon me like all the other hard, meaningful things of my life. Maybe he did me a power of good. If I could do exactly as I please, I would live in style, surrounded by cats and exquisite works of art. I would wallow in the balmy climate of an elegant drawing room like a fastidious orchid, sweetly decomposing in a crystal vase.
The real me thrives on warmth and smoothness, feeds on honeyed titbits, goes into raptures over the thrilling loveliness of cats. The real me believes in life running like a clockwork; in life as a love-story come true. Which is not exactly my case. Neither that of most others, actually.
As for the “others”, I am not so very concerned. I am interested in the “others” only as far as they touch me. In fact I do not wish to be touched at all. I prefer to watch the world from a panoramic blockhouse of reinforced glass. Let the “others” outside, fighting and hurting each other, if this is what they want, but let the atrocities happen far from me! Let the “others” take me in only when and if I ask for it.