condition: on going
author: Krimhild K
beta reader: Mia
“The furniture? It’s not enough. With that you paid me three quarters of your debt…”
Alain muttered quietly, rummaged into his pockets, took what was left of his last pay from the former French Guard, and spread the coins on the dinner table.
“Is this enough?”
The landlady counted the money parsimoniously. Oscar witnessed the scene with discomfort, but she didn’t dare to offer economic help to the young man. She knew it could be an offend for him. Alain would surely appreciate more if she invite him a beer along the way …
“Yes, it’ll pay off your debt.”
Once the landlady had left the flat, Alain watched thoroughly his old apartment. Adness and neglect were the only things that floating in the air! In some ways it was a relief to go far away from here, but on the contrary, it hurt Alain to leave behind the place full of happy memories of his mother and sister. He could hear the echo of Dianne’s voice and her laughter… also her heartbreaking tears of romantic disappointment. He thought she would recover when her cry got smaller and become soft sobbing, but it was just the calm before the storm. She was left alone for twenty minutes, and when he came back he saw her body, which was in her wedding dress, hanging, dangling on a rope with a knot above her neck and the end tied to the beam across her room… How could he not see it coming? It was so obvious… her serenity after two days of despairing was not normal…
Finally, Alain’s eyes rested on the leather suitcase that containing his few belongings, deposited near to Oscar’s foot.
“I can wait in the carriage if you need a few minutes alone.”
“No, I’m fine. I have only one thing left.”
Alain entered for the last time Diane’s room, and took an old rag doll. It was his gift for Dianne for her eighth birthday. A month before that, the little girl had been attached to a shop, looking at a lovely doll with green eyes, dark hair and lavender dress, until her mother pull her hand to continue walking. Dianne said nothing, but Alain knew immediately she wanted that doll… and of course his mother had no money to buy it. That also was the reason of Dianne’s silence. Surreptitiously, Alain rummaged among his mother’s baskets of clothes and fabric (she was a dressmaker) until he got the materials needed to make his own version of the toy. He worked for four weeks at night, locked in the attic of the building. He made and remade, stitched, unstitched, he cut and stabbed both hands so much, that they might well have used as colanders. The final result maybe was far from perfect, but was more than acceptable. The only problem he couldn’t resolve was the hair, so he tied a scarf on the doll’s head, and put at the feet of the girl’s bed at night, while she was still sleeping.
The next day, Alain and his mother awoken by hearing a loud shriek of joy.
“Mommy! What a beautiful gift you’ve done for me!” He heard his sister screaming.
“But darling, what gift you’re talking about?” – Said the mother – “I told you I could not give you any present this year.”
“The doll, Mom! It’s so beautiful.”
“What doll, honey?” Asked the mother, while Alain, in pajamas, shuffled his foot into the room.
“”This! What else could be?”
“Dianne, although I wished I could, I didn’t buy this…”
“But then…”said Dianne while his brother cross the door. Both looked at him…
“It was you!” Shouted mother and daughter at once. Alain nodded, yawned and rubbed one eye with his hand at the same time.
“Where did you get money to buy it?“ The mother asked, worried.
“From nowhere. I haven’t bought it, I did it by myself …”
In two seconds, the girl clung to Alain like sticking by glue, surrounding him with her skinny little arms.
“You’re the best brother in the world!”
The hair problem was solved by Dianne. She had the “brilliant” idea of cutting a few strands from her own hair, gluing them to a piece of genre and sew them to the bald head of who was later given the name of Isabelle.
The only flaw of this plan was Alain, in charge of cutting his sister’s hair, cut precisely from the rown of her head, so that in our times Dianne could have passed for a little punk. Alain earned a rebuke from his mother, and the girl had to spend six months using a hat until the hair grew again, but they didn’t give a damn. Every time Dianne saw Isabelle and thought that she and her brother had made it together, the more beautiful was the doll in her eyes.
Alain held Isabelle tight to his chest. Oscar made no comment when she saw him went out from the building with the doll in his hand. He carried his luggage to the carriage. It looked pretty miserable charged next to Oscar’s four trunks, filled with clothes, books, swords, pistols and her violin.
The carriage started its way. Oscar leaned her head against the Windows. After a while, drops of sweat from her brow drew Alain’s attention. What is this…fever? He had no time to ask her, when she suffered a violent fit of coughing, a dry cough, which made her to lean forward. Alain succored her immediately, and discovered with horror that he had her lips and chin stained with blood. He offered her a handkerchief and helped to clean up. She looked at him and there was some guilt feeling in her eyes …
“FIRE!” Oscar shouted while raising her sword. Her slim figure, standing in front of the cannons that aimed at the Bastille, had a lot of wild and ghosts. Her army jacket was covered with dried blood stains, her hair was fluttering in the wind and her face was smeared with dust and soot. At the sound of her hoarse voice, a dozen cannons fired at the fort in perfect sync, causing considerable damage to its structure.
Once the clouds of dust dissipated, the noon sun made a shiny line of gleaming bayonets which protruded from the narrow windows of the Bastille. Instead of retreating and taking cover, Oscar stepped forward. She stood defiantly and raised her sword once again. Alain understood in a split second, because the expression of joy almost deranged in Oscar’s eyes was a provocation to the defenders of the fortress … he saw put her free hand to the Cheste, as if she was saying shoot, all of you, shoot here…
“FIRE!” She yelled again, with all the energy from her lungs, so loud that she felt a tearing sensation in the throat. But this order was not for her men. Alain watched with horror how the bayonets were inclined towards Oscar. He didn’t think, just reacted automatically, jumping over a cannon and rushing over his commander. He hit her violently and both rolled on the floor amid a hail of bullets. Oscar, – stunned by the impact, the fall, and the sound of the bullets buzzed and crashing into the ground around them – at first thought she had been hurt. Then she was surprised by the lack of pain. But she soon felt the weight of Alain’s body over her, limp on an abnormal posture. His head tilted toward the chest, his face contorted and clenched teeth. As the riflemen of the Bastille took their time to reload their guns, several French soldiers guard took Oscar and Alain from the line of fire, leading them to a sheltered position. Oscar, realizing that she was unharmed, debated fiercely, trying to escape and ran to the Bastille seeking for her death. Three men could hardly reduced her.
“Let me go! Let me go, bastards, sons of a bitch!” A string of irreproducible obscenities learned in the French Guard’s headquarters emanated from the lips of the aristocratic woman, accompanied by kicking, punching and biting directed to his subordinates.
“CALM DOWN!” Alain yelled, holding her wrist.
” Get your hands off me, you idiot!” She yelled, dealing a blow to his hurt shoulder. Alain fell backward and instinctively put his hand on his arm. His jacket was staining with redness and he was panting hard, trying to get his breath back. Oscar stopped fighting when she saw his face deformed by a grimace of pain.
“Alain, Jules, Gérard” – she said, looking at each other with such distress that would stir a stone ” … I beg you…”
” We can’t let you go, Oscar” Alain whispered.
The commander’s eyes overflowed with tears.
” I can’t live without him … Don’t you understand? I can not!”
Alain approached her with hardly, trying to ignore the intense throbbing pain of his wound.
“Yes, you can …”
“I don’t know how… I don’t want to do it … let me die!”
” Do you think this is what André wants you to do?”
” No… but you’re asking me too much!”
” We need you, Commander. Come on, just one last effort …”
Oscar turned to look at them. Impotence, compassion, was what she found in those three pairs of eyes. The rest of the troops crowded around her. She looked over their faces, one to one. His beloved soldiers. Oscar and they had tamed each other, they had despised her in the beginning, and finally admire her, and she had shared their cause, abandoned her position and fight side by side with those men for what she believed a fair society. The cause for which Andre had decided to fight. For he had died. For the cause and to protect her. And Alain, his unruly second in command, was about to suffer the same fate… She knew she had to make that last effort, even if at this moment she wanted to not exist more than anything in the world.
“Alain, don’t do this to me… don’t do this… all of you … there’s nothing soul in this body… let me die, death is the only thing that could bring me peace …”
” Guys, leave me alone with the commander for a few minutes. Don’t neglect your positions.”
“Jules, Gérard and the others withdrew quietly.”
” Oscar, look at me” – said Alain, holding her chin with his bloody hand. She tried to turn her head, but he prevented it, gripping her strongly, yet carefully “look at me … ” That sweet tone, that compassionate and tender look were not belonged to Alain. No, what really suited him were vulgar expressions, sarcasm and rage attacks accompanied by thoughtless acts… or rather, sweetness wasn’t typical of him anymore, since Oscar had only seen him show his sensitive side with Dianne. And she was forever gone… “I understand you, I know exactly how you feel…”
“It’s not the same!” She protested.
“You are right about that” given the boy ” is not the same because Dianne was my sister, not my wife. But even so, she was the light of my eyes, since the first time that I carried her my arms. A smile of her always cheered me up, no matter if everything was going from bad to worse. I swelled up like a proud peacock when I saw her every day became more beautiful, I admired her intelligence, the goodness of her character, her strength and maturity to face adversity and that joy of living she put in everything she did … It was hard to comprehend that she was not my little girl anymore. So, when she came into the headquarters to announce me she was engaged, I trusted that God will reward my angel with a good man, worthy enough to be her husband, a man who will make her happy… I made so many plans around her, Oscar … I even had thought to propose possible names for my nephews and I was preparing to control myself and not pamper and overindulged them too much … That’s why I say it’s not the same, but still, I know how it feels when the pain is so deep that your body seems too small to contain it. Then, sorrow escapes through your pores and around you… it suffocates you but doesn’t kill you, no matter if implore death to come. Sorrow fills you, it covers everything you think and feel, you are vastly empty… And I was in this condition, as you are now, when you came to my house and asked me to continue living. And that’s what I’m doing, Oscar, I live, hoping someday I could find a meaning to keep breathing …”
“I’m not as strong as you are, I wasn’t made from iron like all of you think. You can do this much better than me, Alain. Take the lead and lead the final attack to the Bastille.”
Alain took Oscar’s cheek with his wounded arm’s fingertips. She felt he was shaking, and regretted that he had received that shot because of her recklessness. He approached to her a little, almost touching Oscar’s nose with his own, and the whisper of his voice was perfectly audible to her.
“You know I hated you since the first time I saw you. All of us hated you, we tried to make your life difficult but we can’t bend the hand. You finely bended us. You, an aristocrat who knew anything about our world, a woman quarreling with our men’s rudely, with soldiers carved by life’s harshness… A rose in the middle of the barracks, beautiful, delicate, but with an iron will, with a titanic energy and a loyal heart of gold … So, we all hated you once, but now we respect and admire you. I know you’ll say that without him you are nothing. He said the same about you, but I’ve known you both very well, and I think that you are wrong. You were one for each other, but each alone was always a complete human being, full of qualities. You feel empty without him, but you’re still the same worthy person I learned to admire. I have faith in you, like André always had to… You are the bravest and most daring person I’ve ever met, a great commander and an amazing woman … I know you can take the lead and we will be victorious under your command. I’m not asking you to do this for me or the French Guard, or because I think it was what André would l wanted. Do it for yourself …”
When did you stop being an insolent, arrogant and unbearable kid, and you became a grown man? I’m so proud of you! I am proud of all you guys, but especially you, Alain. I know you’re more than capable to take the lead of our regiment … or what’s left of it … but you’re right, I must finish what we started together. I can’t quit now. I’ll do my best, for you, for André, and for myself too..
Oscar stood up. Alain stood up too, expectantly. She held out her hand to him, and Alain shook it firmly. When their eyes met again, they found in each other the same determination, the same identical pre-fight glare.
“We are a team, aren’t we? – Oscar said, then turned to her men” Get ready for the assault!
They responded with a hoarse and manly shout, raising their guns and swords. Alain stopped her before she returned to the front.
” Oscar … swear to me you’ll never try to kill yourself again.”
She knew very well the tragedy that had inspired this plea. The image of the half descomposed body of whom once was a beautiful girl, was something she would never forget …
“You have my words…” she answered, ready to command her troops in what would be their last mission.
Are you dying? So… only because of that you swore to me… you played dirty, Oscar! Death had stalked me too much in less than a year! My mother, my sister, André… and now even you? You made me think we both had the chance to start again. To reinvent ourselves after being totally shattered, since we lost whom we loved the most. I thought you would live in the main house and promote the changes we have dreamed about in your own property I would live in the vicinity, where I could work the land. And someday, you could heal your wounds, and I’d find a nice girl, and I’d form a beautiful family with her. I’d visit you often, we’d go for a drink and talk about life, past times, about those who are forever gone, about present and future. One day I would see a flash of joy in your eyes, and that would make me very happy. And so, years will go by, peacefully, and when death came to pick us, we’ll say, “hey, I had a good life and I appreciate it”… But seeing how you try to avoid me at this moment, I realize my mistake… You are seriously ill, and you’ve run away from home, just like an organic cat do when they sense beforehand death is coming for them. They leave home to spend his last moments alone. But you’re too devastated, and you can’t face the Fates all by yourself, so, you’ve asked me to keep you company in your last days, isn’t it? How much time do you have, Oscar? Maybe a couple of years, or only a few months …Do you even realize how cruel what you’re doing to me is? I think you won’t be able to understand … and even if suffering had made you become so selfish, I will not leave you. But still, you played unfair. You could have spoken clear since the beginning, I would have stayed with you the same. And not even now when I’ve seen you spit blood, you dare to tell me the truth ..
“What you got there?” Alain noted a rusty tin box she had on her lap.
” Keepsake” said Oscar, and she opened the box. Inside was a teddy bear, a red-handled penknife and a spinning top ” Toys that Andre and I buried under a tree.”
“Those toys look well preserved.”
“Yes, he wanted to bury them just like that, but I insisted on sealing the box … ‘What if we open it in thirty years?’ I said … ‘Would you want to play with a rotten bear, a rusty knife and a spinning top half-eaten by termites?’ Now I see we did a good job, but totally useless if he is not here to check it …”
Alain tried to distract her from her depressing thoughts.
“Can I keep Isabelle with your toys? I don’t look very masculine holding a doll, you know, it completely ruins my image… What would my fans say? It would be embarrassment for me to give an explanation, and a terrible disappointment for them … I have a reputation to take care!”
Oscar usually at least had a smile at that comment, but this time she remained serious. Don’t you say a single word? Now you realize about my illness, and you don’t have to go through this if it hurts you. I regret not having the courage to tell you the truth … I didn’t think this disease will give me away so soon, but if you stop the carriage, get off and run away, I couldn’t reproach you…
” Of course – said Oscar, and took the doll” it’s really cute.
“I did it for her.”
” Really? Wow, I’d never have imagined it.”
“I have countless hidden talents, Oscar. You’ll have plenty of time to discover it” he said with a pretentious smirk, pretending to be gallant by joking.
” Eh, I see it…”
“Yesterday I saw Jules and told him about our trip. He told everybody immediately, and guess what, The boys are furious! You know, all of them are a little in love with you … I’m surprised that none of them has killed me while I was sleeping, and presented at your door next morning, offering to take my place …”
“Yeah … that’s why you kidnapped me and tried to burn my hair … – she said it without smiling.”
“Oh, that was just a misunderstanding, a despicable act of male chauvinism we really sorry… Anyway, finally we conclude that between the former commander and you, you were the best option, because it’s better to be able to look at a pretty girl, even if she gave us a beating …”
She did not answer. Alain, seeing he got any result, left his jocular attitude.
” It tuberculosis, right?”
Oscar sighed with relief and anxiety at the same time. If Alain finally decides to not accompanied her, everything would be much harder …
” How serious…?”
” Then I’ll tell the cab driver to hurry up. You need fresh air and take a good rest.”
Oscar smiled at last.
“Dead!” Alaste and Sugane (1) looked at Oscar incredulously.
“What a disgrace! He was such a good kid… And we knew him since he used diapers, right, monsieur Sugane? A really nice guy, quiet but cheerful as his mother and with the same curious green eyes from his father … Tell me, mademoiselle Oscar, how did it happen?” Asked monsieur Alaste, the owner of an old inn at Arras. Surgeon, taciturn and more wisely than the innkeeper, understood it wasn’t the best time for such questions. Oscar had changed a lot since his last stay in Arras (accompanied by Andre, as always), and her new appearance was very worrying. The worst thing wasn’t how thin and emaciated she looked, but the sadness and hopelessness she conveyed… in her posture, her way of speaking, in her face was nothing but marks of a profound grief. Like her only reason to be sitting at the dinner table where she was still breathing, and couldn’t do anything about it. In addition, the brown eyes of the young man who was by her side looked her with anguish when Alaste asked her for André. The boy peeked at her as he was afraid the woman suddenly went crazy and jumped across the window. The boy’s poise also attracted Sugane’s attention: the strength of his movements and his upright head suggested military training.
“In the riots outside the Palais des Tuileries” Oscar said as she stirred her soup. She barely tasted it in the last ten minutes.
“In the Palace des Tuileries!” Repeated Alaste, as if what he heard was absurd and nonsense – “How is this possible? Did he go with the insurgents and leave your family? I can’t believe! You were always together … He would never leave yo…”
” I was there too” Oscar took a second spoonful of soup – in the same side.
“Oscar was in charge of the French Guard” Alain explained ” When we were ordered to repress the people and shoot them, we disobeyed and we conform to the insurgent ranks. André died during the riots of July 13.”
Oscar looked at Alain, thankful that she hadn’t to give explanations.
” Oh … I see …” Alaste said slowly “and your father…?”
” Monsieur Alaste, you are asking mademoiselle Oscar so many questions” Sugane said “I’m sure would you prefer to have a quiet dinner and retire to the main house to rest. Not to be impertinent, but you don’t look very well …”
“You’re right, monsieur Sugane” Oscar said ” I’m very tired … but answering your question, monsieur Alaste, my father has disowned me. But he let me settle in Arras.”
” The main house is fit for habitation, mademoiselle Oscar” Sugane intervened.
” Perfect” said Oscar.
“I want to ask you if there’s some housing available to rent… ” said Alain. Sugane and Alaste and exchanged a significant glance.
” Well … ” Sugane said “There’s a house uninhabited since six months ago. It has deteriorated during the winter when the last tenants were gone, so it needs some arrangements. If you are interested, Gilbert, my son, can help you with repairs. I am too old for that kind of work.”
“Gilbert!” Oscar said with sudden enthusiasm ” he have to be a young man now, haven’t he, monsieur Sugane?”
“He should be seventeen years old by now” said the father proudly “About repairs, it shouldn’t take more than a week.”
” Excellent! you could start working very soon, Alain. Tell me, monsieur Sugane, what property is?”
Sugane and Alaste look each other again. Alaste answered slowly.
” It is the Grandier’s house, mademoiselle Oscar.”
When Sugane saw how Oscar’s face went from excitement to surprise and grief, it was only a matter of adding two plus two to understand the reason of her depression.
During the next week, Gilbert helped Alain with repairs in his new house. Alain couldn’t take off the sling from his wounded arm, so he was really grateful for this collaboration. But it was a change in their plans: Oscar didn’t want to stay in the main house. She persisted in the idea of being her who dwelled André’s house, and send Alain to the main house. Alain thought it was ridiculous. The argument escalated and ended with shouts, both furious, but all in all, Alain felt calmer somewhat, because Oscar suffered a fit of anger was much more herself than Oscar, mute, stirring a bowl of soup that she hardly taste.
As Alain was not yet recovered from his wounds, he delayed his work in the field for a week. During this time they stood alone in the house, and agreed to hire a girl for helping Oscar with her daily routine. She reluctantly accepted, because she didn’t anyone to serve her anymore, but finally had to yield to the irrefutable argument that her illness didn’t allow her to manage normally. And there’s another thing to consider: she was a horrible cook and even Alain had better skills preparing dinner. None of them was brave enough to eat a sticky half scorched “something” every day.
During the first morning, Alain woke up early and prepared breakfast. Oscar began to stir her bowl of with honey and milk, in an absurd distracting maneuver, trying Alain didn’t notice she wasn’t eating. But obviously he realized immediately and the consequences of his lack of patience were immediate.
“I will not move from here until you finish your breakfast” he said looking sternly at her.
“I appreciate you’ve worked to prepare it, but I’m not hungry.”
“I’m here to protect you, and that includes make you eat. So if you don’t want we have problems, it would advisable for you to start eating right now.”
“It is not that” Oscar said, putting the spoon aside “I just can’t eat, can’t swallow any food. I have a lump in my throat. I feel I will bring up even the smallest mouthful.”
Alain stood up from the chair, took Oscar’s spoon with his wounded arm’s hand, and with the other firmly grasped the woman’s head. Then, as if she was a fussy little girl, he forced her to open her mouth and swallow a spoonful. She choked, coughed, spat out, and slapped him. He smiled, and rubbed his own cheek.
” Well, well … I never think I was such a bad cook for you to spit my food. Anyway, This can’t be worse than that porridge we ate at the French Guard… but oh! I forget that was for the rabble to eat, people like you ate more exclusive things… Surely it tastes worse for your fine palate than for the rest of mortals, and it’s pointless to say that in this area, lot of people would be very grateful for bowl of porridge for breakfast.”
She, offended and embarrassed, sat down and began to spoon the bowl. Alain was surprised at how predictable his former commander could be. Or perhaps, he hadn’t realized that she didn’t know her well enough
A week had passed by. Oscar didn’t talk more than necessary. Alain felt exasperated by her attitude, but he concealed his bad mood as much as his (not very developed) acting skills made possible. He didn’t want to over demand her, he thought he had overreacted a little with the scene that he made to her during the first breakfast. Her apathy, after all, was normal. He also took the time to explore the heritage and he was fascinated about this beautiful place. He thought he could live the rest of his life in that wonderful location. He scored on horseback the wheat fields, vineyards, forests, meadows and marshes and then it’s born in him an enthusiasm that sometimes contrasts too violently with Oscar’s silence and always serious face. While he wandering aimlessly, he thought he understood André’s serene character, so quiet, sweet and friendly it must surely influenced by the stillness of the land on which he spent his early years.
One afternoon, returning from his stroll, Alain panicked when he checked even the last corner of the house and found no traces of Oscar. He stood frozen in the doorway, thinking of a thousand ways that Oscar might have killed herself. Perhaps she had thrown into the river. Or she could get away into the thicket, or into the vineyards with a gun … or … hell … The barn! He could almost see her feet macabre swaying before his eyes. Alain ran as fast as he could, pushed the door and entered… But Oscar wasn’t hanging from the beam. She was curled in a corner, holding something in one hand and crying, crying so torn as Alain had never seen anyone mourners.
The boy took her in his arms and cradled like a baby. She hugged him with all her strength, and groaning with more distress. Alain realized hadn’t seen her mourn in the whole week (nor heard her at night, because Alain had a very light sleeper and a cry in the front room would have woken him up). Her eyes had always been dry until now. It was evident that she had been contained herself and something had finally unleashed all her pain. Carefully, he opened her fist, and he could see what she clung so hard. Two crudely carved wooden horses, one white and one black.
“Who knows how many years they had been here!” She cried “forgotten for decades in a corner … “Alain examined the horses and discovered in each of them, the initials of his best friend “He liked horses so much… when he arrived at the mansion he spent hours with them in the stables. He used to sleep on the hay to be near them. The lovingly tended them, and they accepted him right away … sometimes he also slipped away from… once I heard he told them that he preferred to be with them rather than me, because I was a nutcase and unbearable brat who couldn’t have his big mouth closed, and did nothing but get him into trouble … He was so sweet and quiet that exasperated me, and it took me a long time to understand the delicacy of his feelings … And it took me a lifetime to understand how much I loved him! Even when I already knew I didn’t dare to admit it … I was such a fool!”
“Oscar, don’t torture yourself like that, it’s not worth …”
“I’m just telling the truth! I was so accustomed to having him always by my side that I thought he would never leave me. So even when I was finally sure that I loved him madly, I hadn’t the courage to confess to him… because subconsciously thought I could always do it later, that I have time, more time to decide … And when I finally did, it was two weeks before he died. Do you see it? Two weeks! (2) two weeks when it could have been months, or years earlier, if only I hadn’t been so obsessed with … God! If I had realized … now I see it so clear: we were always the one for another. If I wanted to marry him, Marie Antoinette would have done whatever was necessary to pass the union, if it would have made me happy. I never accepted a single gift of her majesty, and I know for sure she would willingly grant me that wish. What better proof of her friendship I have than not been looking searching for to have commanded the storming of the Bastille? And if we hadn’t obtained this approval, we just would have gone far away from here, together.”
” But that didn’t happen and there is nothing you can do about it. You missed the opportunity to live with him… stay with the memory of what was, because the more it take to you to accept it, the more you will suffer.”
” It isn’t that, Alain. It is true that I’m sorry I missed the opportunity to have a different life with him. But what it kills me is blame… the blame for not making him happy when I have the opportunity. The blame for having made him suffer for despise his love… for spent years of my life dreaming about a man who just loved me like his dearest friend, but never did anything to give me hope that would love me otherwise …somebody who I never really loved.”
“Oscar, you don’t have to tell me, I know how much André suffered for you. But I also know that the simple fact of knowing he was corresponded wipe out years of affliction. That was enough for everything he suffered had been worth…”
” It isn’t consolation enough!”
” It must be, because that’s all you have. For now, cry all you want if you need.”
Oscar hid her head on Alain’s chest. He continued rocking her and gently caressing her shuddering shoulders. He did a great effort to not mourn him too, because the situation had him with his nerves in shreds… see Oscar suffering like that breaks his heart. Knowing she cried for who was his best friend, just made things so much painful. Alain sorely missed him too. In addition, embrace Oscar so broken by the pain was too similar to hug Dianne, shattered by the abandonment of a man who played with her and defiled her. He needed his little angel. And his mother. And their fallen comrades in battle. And the smile and the sparkle in Oscar’s eyes… He didn’t realize when his own tears mingled with Oscar’s, whose cheek was stuck to his …
“Have you noticed, Alain, the prairies of Arras are exactly the same color as the Andre’s eyes…?”
Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
I do not want to feel no more
It’s Easier to keep falling
AImitations are pale
Tomorrow’s haunted by your ghost
Lay down, Black Gives Way to Blue
Lay down, I’ll remember you
Fading out by design
Avoiding consciously Changes
Curtains drawl now it’s done
Tomorrow’s forcing a goodbye
Lay down, Black Gives Way to Blue
Lay down, I’ll remember you
(1) Alaste and Sugane appear in the anime episode 13, when Oscar and André travel to Arras and saved the life of Sugane’s son, Gilbert, who was seriously ill but her family could afford the services of a physician.
(2) In the manga Oscar confesses his love for André after his father tries to kill her, unlike what happens in the anime (she does it the day before his death). Personally I prefer the first version, I find it more coherent.
Notes: I forgot to mention in the first episode that for the purposes of this story, there is a scene from the manga is not the case, one in which Alain kisses Oscar. In the manga we have more or less clear that he was also in love with Oscar, but here we realize that “it never happened.”
A brief comment about “Black Gives Way to Blue” (listen to it, it’s beautiful!), The song I chose for the end of this episode. It belongs to the last album of Alice in Chains after more than a decade of silence and after death of its vocalist, Layne Staley in 2002. The curious thing is Staley died of overdose (in what was virtually a suicide) and although he always was a boy with many problems (if you are familiar to the band then you know what I mean, if you don’t, I don’t recommend it to those who aren’t in good spirits…) What finally sank him was his girlfriend’s death, in 1996. He never got over it, and he isolated from the world. He even was found two weeks after his death because he had almost become a hermit … And that’s what Oscar wanted to do in this story. But we’ll see if she could, hehe