A stubble summer

Blaise falls and Barbara sees him fall. She screams, she runs, she cries. In a few strides, she is at his side, but the young man did not crash on the cobblestones, he landed in the middle of the thatch boots. Lying in the reeds, he laughs. He laughs and Barbara cries standing in front of him. He gets up and takes her in his arms. It’s nothing, it was like falling into a haystack, it’s nothing! She continues to cry in Blaise’s big arms, who inhales the scent of her hair and hugs her.

Barbara can’t get over feeling so good against this boy’s warm, bare chest. She likes the acrid smell of his skin, she likes his palms behind her, the softness of this caress, the strength of his embrace. She hears him breathing. She ends up freeing herself, consoled.

During lunch, the two young people stare at each other and Marceline is delighted to see them so alive. His young ghost is reborn. She knows it, she feels it and the apple pie is delicious. In its frame, the cottage radiates, Marceline is sure of it, the light in this canvas is no longer quite the same, it seems to her that the door will soon open.

It’s been summer for a while now.

In the farmhouse kitchen, Barbara smiles at her father, who no longer stares at his hands, but looks at her tenderly as he drinks his coffee.

She’s the first to get up this time, she apologizes, she’s in a hurry, in a hurry to find Marceline, the cottage in its frame and Blaise above all. Before running away, she says:

– I have a lover !

The father asks him:

– Will you introduce him to me?

She nods her head and leaves, happy.

She stops in the large hall mirror. The green dress that Marceline unearthed for her in one of her suitcases transforms her, it has the color of a rapeseed field at the end of May. She finds herself pretty, she likes her reflection, her size, her breasts, her buttocks, she likes the light she gives off. She has combed her long brown hair down her curves and her dark eyes are sparkling. She smiles at herself.

In the rapeseed meadow that her father is going to harvest, she sees the magnificent head of a deer with huge antlers which floats above the ears, motionless, their eyes meet. She stops on the way, she feels everything, she lives intensely every moment. There he goes, magnificent. She admires him, even if he tramples his father’s rapeseed.

Standing on one of the slats he uses to move around on Marceline’s roof, Blaise assembles the long bundles of reeds that his brother throws at him on the fly from the bottom of the house. He lays them side by side, spreads them out, unties them, beats their base with a batter, he gives them a beautiful shape by hand, models them, then he sews them to the lintels and to the iron bar which holds them with his two large needles, one male and the other female. On the roof, now partly covered with a thick coat of vegetable hair, he watches for Barbara’s arrival and as soon as she appears on the path lined with elms, he stops to come to meet her and ’embrace.

At noon, like every day, the table is ready and Marceline welcomes her young guests with her young girl’s smile. This time, she pours herself several glasses of white, and as she drinks them, she talks about the past, she opens herself up.

– Why become so attached to objects, often worthless, trinkets, contraptions, draille? Why do I have more embroidered cushions today, bicycles and old telephones than friend asses to put on these cushions or these bicycles, or than buddies to call? I’m so old now that most of them are dead and I never had children, I didn’t even think about it, or too late, life went by so fast. But I found something to fill my voids by setting up film sets. I built, I lived in a multitude of backgrounds, families, eras, I handled so many objects, searched, unearthed, bought, rented, had thousands of pieces of furniture and accessories built. Until the day I worked on a film inspired by Prévert’s poem, Barbara. There was this setting, an interior before and after an Allied bombing.

It was not in Caen, where I had lived, but in Brest that the story took place. I understood in the middle of the heap of objects, debris that I put in place, while the set prop man put down his smoke machines, I understood what I was replaying and I screamed. I worked as long as possible, but after this film on the destruction of Brest by the Allies, I retired. I searched for meaning in my life. I found it: I dreamed of an indestructible house, a house that no wolf could blow me away from and, in my mind, this house was strangely a cottage. You see this painting whose gilding on the frame is fading, I’m madly attached to it. Looking at this house, I always felt at home and safe. This painting sat in my parents’ room in Caen. I found it intact in the rubble next to the bodies of my mother and my two little sisters.


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