This is the last time I will see him. It's not a hunch or a hypothesis. I just know it. He walks briskly, chest out, fists clenched in the pockets of a crisp Levis. His eyes rub the pavement. He rushes down the rue de Lutèce and is soon swallowed up by the Guymer metro station. He hasn't looked back once since he ditched me in front of the huge, gold-plated gate of the courthouse. What for? To give a look of regret? That's not the film that's being played. This is real life, dry, without embellishments nor background music.
Only half an hour ago, we were still sitting side by side in front of a small and friendly judge. Administrative recitation, signatures, the trick was done. In any case, everything had been settled for months, a mere formality. She looked up, scrutinised us over her round steel glasses: "It's the first time in my career that I've seen divorced people get along so well! We both smiled at her, like young schoolchildren almost proud of this originality. He and I have always liked to stand out from the crowd. Maybe that's what brought us together, a kind of chronic propensity to be noticed.
So here I am, screwed to the pavement. Alone. I wobble, like a cripple whose crutch has been ripped off. The sun's pastel licks my cheeks, a little mischievous breeze curls the trees of the boulevard. I have just celebrated my birthday. All the conditions are right for me to look like one of those liberated chicks straight out of a comic strip in Femme Actuelle. Fine features, wiggly eyelashes, a fashionable handbag, and a cute little snub nose dipped in kiwi-pumpkin juice. The truth is that I feel tiny and ugly. A real Parisian Bridget Jones.
I will have to learn to walk without support.
What is the emancipated thirty-something complaining about? I wanted this divorce. Three years of cleaning up the gloomy meanders of my psyche: from desperate sobs to exalted realizations, snuggled up in the tirelessly benevolent gaze of my shrink, I unknotted the stitches of the false-self that was holding me in. "It's strange, Anna, you never look each other in the eye" a friend once said to me when we were still young moles digging in the dark corridors of the preparatory class. That's exactly what happened. I was infatuated with a boy who wasn't looking at me. And for ten years, I remained riveted to this absence.
Ten years ended with a handshake with the judge and two kisses on the cheeks. No shouting, just a few debts to share, no negotiations for alternating custody... Our child was never born. He was sucked out before he even had a chance to look like a Paleozoic tadpole. I exercised my "freedom as a woman" to the full, burying my tears and all the injunctions that forbade me to become a mother. One more void added to the emotional desert of my life as a couple, an immeasurable one.
It's not as if I think about this absence every single day, but Paul gave me a surreal reminder earlier in the waiting room: "I'm in trouble, my girlfriend's pregnant, and her parents are Catholic, so it's not going to be easy to convince them to pass it on". I jumped up from my padded seat, slapped him across the face and hissed: "What! Wasn't that enough for you? Did you have to do it again?". Oh no wait, that's what any normal girl would have done. In fact, I couldn't help myself, I immediately went into good understanding girlfriend mode. "Oh dear, you want me to give you the addresses?". That's it, just friends.
Faced with such a disaster, I wonder if it is really a godsend that I did not suffer the same fate as that spongy mass of embryonic cells.
This was the first chapter of a 13 chapters auto-fictional chronical book.
You can download the PDF file by clicking here.
Content warning: the book is about women's life.
So you will read about disease, death, abortion, incest, but also sex, love and birth.