Royan  , october 1985

The times I speak about didn’t know the existence of cellphones.
How many strategies did we have to elaborate in order to fool our parents … things would have been completely different with all these convenient little smart stuffs, digital technology has become an ally in generational conflicts.

On a Thursday morning, I received a large envelope from Colin.

Dear Sis,

Here for you , the last the last two issues of fanzine “L’Equerre “, we literally tear them off in Montaigne.
I thought you might like it; and gentle reminder : your brother, it’s me !


PS : Couroucoucou on Siouxsie’s head

Dad started to moan while drinking his coffee.
“ You’re lucky, you, at least ! Does he say anything?
– Nothing particular. It’s just the magazines”

But the last line was not a private joke. A breath of hot air seized me while reading the onomatopoeia that we used when we invented ourselves and acted out stories as kids. One of those voluntarily terrible stories where brother and sister lost their parents, find themselves under the tutelage of bloodthirsty domestic tyrants; and “Couroucoucou” was a sign of connivance when one of them was in danger of death.

Feverishly leafing through the fanzines on the bus which drove me to school, I finally found Siouxsie in double page ; wearing an amazing Jean-Paul Gauthier’s black dress and just above her full hair, “ CALL ME” with a phone number which I noted immediately before covering it with white corrector .

I said above that in this pre-cellphone era, things were much more complicated; reaching Colin before the night was a fucking obstacle course that gnawed my mind all day. With just an hour for the meridian pause, even without eating, I would never have a proper conversation with him because the line to the only telephone booth was always huge. All that I could do is was to try my luck anyway and tell my parents I’ll have a snack with Diane , my new friend living in Royan, and we could use the telephone booths at the railway station after school.

Diane was older than us in the class , quite a rebel temperament, and the adventure naturally excited her. Me too, I must admit, be both in this cramped space, all misted up by the freshness of an autumn evening, and have secret conversations with the elder made us look like conspirators …
There were muffle laughters while the ringtones stretched in a distant sizzle.
“ Where d’you think he is?
– No idea …”

A female voice answered , and I gathered all my daring to ask to speak to Colin.

“ You finally made it… well done Epo…
– What’s going on , brother?
– It’s about next year, dear. You need to know … They want me to go in Paris. I firstly thought that if I failed the entrance examination in Normale Sup, I could escape them. I mean, Dad and Edouard.
– What’s the problem with them ?”

Then I heard a long trembling sigh, and more, tears. He was searching his words.

“ I can’t. I can’t with them anymore… They’re homophobic , Epo. They won’t accept who I am. And I want to live my life. I , I won’t bear to suppress my true nature, because with Edouard I will be under constant surveillance. And do you know what he once told to mum ? “If I’ve had a son, to find out that he is homosexual would have been the worst thing that could happen to me.”
– But what an asshole, I can’t stand him. It has always been … Wait, you’re more than 18, fuck them , Colin !
– I want to keep on studying. I’m made for studies, sister, but not under these conditions. Not by agreeing to live without love for many more years, and continue to play the learned monkey like when I was a kid…”

At the other end of the line, I could hear his breathing who tried to be regular despite the sobs.

It was the first time in many years that I heard my brother cry like that, in such infinite despair; it was the worst thing in the world. Even Diane, who always had something to say about everything, was holding her breath; while mine was a constant stream of blue vapor in the falling night.

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