Public Republic random header image

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February 2, 2012 by · No comments

AnnMarie Rudin


Lille, 01-février. 12

I slept well, but not long enough. Therefore waking this morning was a challenge, but I had one thing on my mind which encouraged me to ready for class: Balzac. I regret not becoming acquainted with his works before now, but at the same time, I am thankful to be able to read in the vernacular.

The lecture was outstanding. My competent docent focused on the portrayal of Balthazar Claës, the main character in the novel. Every instant I felt as though I was learning something. There was not an ounce of ennui that could distract me from my docent’s knowledge that he was sharing with me.

I was always so proud of myself when he would pay special attention to a portion of the text that I had thought important, too, upon reading. He emphasized my favorite line in the novel, and when I heard him read the words to elaborate, I smiled freely, because I simply love the language and its melody:

« Il a dû être bien beau dans sa jeunesse ! Erreur vulgaire ! Jamais Balthazar Claës n’avait été plus poétique qu’il l’était en ce moment. »

I found myself saying “Erreur vulgaire!” twice later today.

The other two classes I had today passed without much worth mentioning. Except maybe that in one, we were reading a passage, and a student began to laugh so violently at the wording. It was a sexual innuendo, which caused others to giggle.

The giggling transformed into fits of laughter than none could control. I was not quite clear on the innuendo, although I had a guess, and I found myself biting my lip to avoid laughing, too. It made me appreciate how drollery is universal. Humor varies, but people are people, and even when I did not understand the joke, the sound of laughter, which is so human, stimulated my own. It was refreshing to find such commonality.

I picked up a sandwich with a friend, and we talked. I inquired about her romantic life, c’est à dire, as the conversation led us to such a topic. I had no idea what was in store for me. She entrusted to me a recent tragedy: The boy she loved, “head over heels in love” she described, was murdered just six weeks ago.

She and he had had a secret relationship for over a year, and an attempted robbery led to an unintentional killing. A gun went off, he dropped. She told me that she was seeing him that night. She was late, “as I always am” she explained, and when she arrived in front of the house, commotion alerted that something had happened.

I let her talk. I listened. My appetite was gone. I was disgusted. Easily stirred by others, I felt the tears coming to my own eyes. Pathos has always appealed to me. She continued to express herself. The hidden feelings. The funeral. The pain.

She is so optimistic. I met this girl three weeks ago, and I would have never guessed that something this tragic had just happened in her life. She is beautiful, and her smile is contagious. I admire her so much now.

I had dinner with a friend much later in the evening. She talked about boys for a very long time. I have to sigh, but again, I must appreciate the similarities: I am a woman, and I can travel and meet other women, and we have comparable feelings. We talk of sex and periods and birth control and love and flirtation. We’re women, after all!

Related posts ↓

No comments so far ↓

  • Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!