La Rochelle-Pontaillac , June 1985
– This one, Colin ? Black again, with a high collar ? Seems weird for a swinsuit …
– Exactly this one , mum. The only one she will accept and which will highlight her!
– I hope so, for the price… But isn’t it a bit too “sophisticated” for a young girl?
– Don’t we have to motivate her for this “pool party”? You better know what you want…
Mum resigns after a big sigh and my brother Colin comes proudly to me, with his laughing eyes under a bunch of messy blond locks.
– What do you think of it ?
Colin’s in his element . He loves chosing clothes for me. In fact, he loves doing it for everyone ; and I don’t have the heart to hurt him.
– Please make a just a smile for your brother, Eponine; and for heaven’s sake leave that long face ! By the way, you’ve put your tee-shirt upside down…
– How can you know it?
– The label right here… Isn’t it your trademark anyway?
I tear the swimsuit from her hands.
I don’t want to show myself at this fucking pool-party by my parents’ posh friends. I don’t want to find myself alone in the stifling fitting room with this 14 years-old skinny and pale body of mine. What promises to be rejoicing for everyone will just be a torture for me.
I feel like entering a sauna, bombarded by the stupid voice of a radio host from the loudspeaker above , and by the music. The music… this time, quite different…
It seems like the voice , a lonely voice comes from the ground as my clothes miserably fall, and in the pace of heavy metallic notes, my shoulders slightly start to move. Then, circular long scrapings replace the voice and curl up in the cramped space which heat just began to vibrate in rhythm. Still falling, lighter notes bend in the flickering light, and I’m surrounded.
My hand , my gesture hang in the cottony hair, I can’t see them clearly anymore. Another voice arose, a deeper voice; coming from the ground , and slowly feeding my breathe. My chest leaves with each sentence , in a suffocating way that covers my eyes with mist.
I don’t understand clearly what he says, this is my first year in English; but I feel something compelling , essential, is just being said. The voice may be firm, it’s tinged with pleading though; and it’s like my whole body becomes this prayer.
There is nothing around me and even inside me anymore, nothing more than this flashing stream between the voice rising from my feet and the sparkling notes raining vertically on me. There is nothing, not even my paltry body, nor my diaphanous reflection in the mirror that I feared, now all is drowned in my listening to the first voice, and its modulated supplication,
These are the only words I know, and as strange as it may sound; they are enough for me to understand. To realize that this plea, sent by those voices in the dampness of emerging summer; it might be my whole life. Because nobody knows me, and I didn’t knew myself completely either, before I heard the two stubborn words in that trembling voice.
How it ends , I don’t remember. Maybe because it doesn’t end , even if I am assaulted again by the nasal idiocies of the host.
But what was it, you fucking dumbass, what was it? He doesn’t tell…
“ Does it fit Eponine? You’ve been here for ages !
– Oh, yeah, yeah; it’s alright mum…”
In fact I don’t know. I put it on well but I don’t remember anything. And mum doesn’t notice my trouble at all , just in a hurry to pay because we have to drive back to Pontaillac. More than an hour’s drive from La Rochelle.
I stand nervously in the middle of the store shelves, where high school girls pass, their arms laden with vaporous dresses, when a friendly, a brotherly hand rests on my shoulder.
“ What happens to you, Epo? Why are you shivering like that, and oh … you cried?
– Help me Colin, you always know anything… I mean, about music.. What was it ?
– What the hell are you talking about? Do you … Oh, wait, when you were in the cabin, am I right?
– Please tell me…”
And he looks at me with his surprised big blue eyes.
“ But Depeche Mode, girl, of course ! Where have you been living this month ? ”