Changer de regard CATHERINE ENJOLETBy Catherine ENJOLET Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal
Had she made the wrong choice in life?
“A good little soldier”. That is what they always said about Ariane. The type who gets through the forest singing like Victor Hugo’s Cosette. And what if she turned back?
Yes, Cosette could have said “I am afraid, I do not want to go there, nor carry other people’s burdens! Nor go through the darkness…” and.
What was the most difficult? Impossible? To say no? To whom? To what?…In the meantime, self-encouragement had to be summoned, like the little one with her frail voice…Na na nana nah…to go still faster through the nights…Nana nah nana nah…
Waterfalls cascaded down the crooks of the ramparts. Ariane’s thoughts scattered and ricocheted here and there on the stones of the basins. The sun splashed and the park was made surreal in the play of light. The sparrows chirped now and then in the leaves. To the academic cursus question “Language option”, Ariane had asked for the universal one, that of the birds. On the desk of her room with picture windows on the park, the hotel had placed notebooks and pencils. If Ariane sought out voyages, inspiring stops, if she believed to have chosen the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg by chance, the feelings overflowed her and everything was going faster in her head than the the surging cumulus skimming the sky.
Are you elsewhere?
Everyone around her claimed that this could be seen in her eyes when, immobile, she would draw away, zoom out, her perspective growing wide angle with dilated pupils, the field would open. The sight of the Bock of Luxembourg was familiar to her without her knowing why; it was enough to activate one detail for everything to reappear, not like a camera’s fixed image, but alive like at that moment facing the light, the light clouds were drawing a veil over the trees without her sensing the wind. Indeed, the foliage was not rustling, the air movement was too high. Had she already been here? Not very sure anymore. She retained the vague impression of something unfinished.
She had the view of the landscape that she needed. Like at the hotel. It’s true, “room with a view” is what she always asked for.
The more she was elsewhere, the more she was present.
It was even at the same time when the moment etched itself that the angle of perspective opened.
When traveling, she could trade her luxury room: king-sized bed, Italian double showers or giant cinema screen for any other which one with a view. Yes, she preferred any little window with a view to any comfort. The view was her luxury. She rectified that, not a “luxury”: gazing was like breathing, it was the same.
She had learned to adjust her focus . Just had to give it the time to camera zoom. So, it is true, she often made people repeat themselves.
-No, I’m listening to you.
She was said to be strange, disturbing, impossible to pinpoint, sort of unsettling: you never know who you’re dealing with. This led to talk.
Does one ever know?
If her portrait had to be done, everyone would have done his own and no one would have recognized in his Ariane that of the next person. It belongs to he who attributed lives to her, imagined her past, froze her by purporting her as evasive, elusive, impenetrable. It attracted men all
the same, her mysterious air, at least those who took the time. The hurried ones, they moved on to something else, especially those who admired themselves in the gaze of the mirror women; yes, they got annoyed. Rejected outright.
It had always been enough to set Ariane in front of a window looking out on a tree, or simply in the kitchen facing the water faucet and the metallic sparkle of the drops in the sink could suffice. She could stay tranquil indefinitely and had to be reminded to come down to earth. It began when she had been forgotten, very young, at the fence post before the river: punished! When she was finally retrieved and back in the car, she was still over there, the current’s wild or light music in her head, smile upon her lips.
There it is. To become a writer, she hesitated saying during literary exchanges, it came down to very little…a madeleine finger cake…a water droplet. The more fragile the feeling, the stronger the search to revive it. To immortalize it..
The intimate self met the intimate of the other. The infinitely small became immensity. A question of point of view.
It helped her in everyday life, this automatic focus adjustment. She was so strengthened by the narrowness of the everyday, the little or big things in life, that she surprised herself and equally confirmed her great expectations. Her needs for surpassing.
Is that what she should have done at birth? At the moment you open your eyes to the scenery, to the family? She, who looked after children, knew how, very quickly, some turned back.
Should she have?
She proceeded, fists clenched. Too late! No point anymore…
She would have gladly asked someone. Who?
Turn back? To put her head in the lion’s mouth? Night scared her less than the Thénardier types from Les Miserables, in full light. She knew it…you meet your destiny on the roads you take to avoid it.
In the dark…Na na nana nah…no choice, she marched on.
It is all this that came to her before the Luxembourg fountain, in the luxuriant and imposing Duchy gardens. In class, she would get caught with her far-away look, they thought her cornered; Come down to Earth, repeat! She repeated, even gave a synthesis, nothing escaped her.
Since she wasn’t able to turn back, couldn’t chose between the Thénardiers and the terrifying forest to cross, at least she could appreciate the now, the pause in time. She followed the small valley under the Kirchberg district of the old city, got lost around the Ducal Palace, maybe she
would even go up to the Museum of Modern Art to admire Pei’s creativity and why shouldn’t she escape still a little more with a concert at the Philharmonic?
She liked nothing more than to continue on step by step, pass through here or there…? She believed in fate that leads us without knowing where we should go.
Could she have, at one time, said no to crossing the void, call for help… search…?Who? What?
How do you look for something you don’t know?
Yes, all this came to her, there in the Grund, like when, in the space of a moment, you find what you are not looking for.