h1

White (translation)

30 novembre 2010

Blanc

 

 

My memories of you are in black and white. You’re sitting inside a french window’s frame, your feet against your thighs and your hands around your knees, on which you rest your head. Your back is propped up against the white wooden frame, you stay thus, patiently, while your mother and your sisters take out, unfold, dust and puff your immaculate dress and veil.

Your skin glows from two months in the south of France, your dark hair is tied wildly in a knot in your back and your eyes (green), can’t but laugh at all this fuss. You stay without moving, you let them do what they need to do. You know that today isn’t your day but theirs.

You, well, your happiness is elsewhere, in chestnut eyes in which sparkles got lost somehow. You never needed the symbols, your rules were clearly established, it’s crazy how much the two of you already talked then. Our eyes went from our silent couples to yours and we could not understand where this river of words came from. We knew that, every day, you would share every insignificant details of the moments lived in the absence of the other, and we found this strange, childish and even ridiculous (we didn’t have a clue).

All this white… It made you nervous. A white meaningless to you, you’d lived with the man who was to wait for you at the town-hall and then the church for two years, you would have preferred colors, something lively and joyful that could withstand stains and dust, Celtic music in the church and a party under a circus tent with juggling clowns and sea lions spitting fire. You would have wanted your day to start slowly with the languor of an XIXth century waltz, the which would have turned faster and faster with time and left your guest breathless and dropping on a bench to drink their champagne glass straight up before getting to know the cute girl next to them.

You’d have like that, that your guests leave with sparkles in their heart, a je-ne-sais-quoi filled with whimsical audacity.

But and very quickly, you let go. You gave this day to your family knowing very well that the rest of your life together was yours to own. 

I have other images of you with a lot of white and little black, just enough to create a contrast and let the light stand out on your face, in your smile and gestures. You standing in the middle of your room, arms apart while your mother dresses you, you eyes closed and your head turned towards the window and your older sister who applies your make up. You in the stairs as you’re going down with precautions,  you laughing so heartily as you discover the mule your husband to be graciously provided for your transport (your father substituted a collection car to it), you getting out of the car as the engine was still running in your hurry to make it quicker to the town-hall, almost closing the door on your dress… You’d rolled it’s train in a bundle under your arm while you ran.

From all these images, from this day, one stands out that I chose to keep. We can’t see your face, we wouldn’t recognize you – nor would we recognize your husband. We see you kneeling by the side of your beloved, white on black, light on dark. I remember your faces bent and harmonious. And a veil with white lace, coming from your hair and resting very elegantly on your armchair thanks to your mother (again). This picture was taken by someone else than I and I find it special and peaceful. What you gave us on that day was just a symbol but it was precious, you gave us the possibility to rejoice with you and share a piece of your happiness. You both were like this veil, present and invisible, exposed to our scrutiny yet protecting your shared secrets, your details, your still daily banter and words.

 

The French version of this text originated quite a discussion on facebook with both French and English speakers who made the effort to use google trad (heh!). Thus this translation for the « lost » passages. Thanks for your feed back and ideas and questions. Your interest in my work help me so much on unmotivated and grey days…

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