A love of youth Chapter 2
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A love of youth
My school years
In the high school, a young teacher from France metropolitan had a particular interest for me. I also felt a certain admiration for him.He was a good guy, of middle size, with long hair like the Beetles. He was married and had two lovely children that I had seen once in the company of his wife, probably a Parisian, in a car parked in front of the school. He taught us history. I was not particularly brilliant on this subject. I had to make enormous efforts to get good marks. I paid a lot of attention to his lessons.I was often designated to prepare and comment in class the lives of famous figures in history, the reigns of the Kings of France in the middle Ages and before.I made researches on the great conquests of history. When I was interrogated by the teacher, I had no hesitation to speak about everything I knew about these famous men, their weaknesses for women who shared their life.
My studies helped me to increase my knowledge, illuminate my mind in several domains that would never have interested me outside my school program. I hoped to be able to complete my studies successfully and felt able to work with energy and diligence. I already had clear ideas of this world and looked at the future with hope and confidence. I was not short of encouragement from my parents and had the opportunities and the comfort I needed.
At that time, radical transformations took place in the surroundings. The landscapes changed aspects and features.Several buildings were constructed to lodge the poor and unprivileged families who were living in unhealthy lodgings. I was selected to speak about the advantages and inconveniences of locating the school in agglomerated places. I asked pupils in the playground a mass of questions about their conditions within the school. I succeeded in gathering precious information to deal with and develop the topic. I left a strong impression on those who listened to me that day.
My father had always taught me to be simple, humble and pleasant. It was the reason why I had a lot of friends. I was often informed of their secrets, their misadventures, and their love deceptions.
In the early days of his youth, I had an opinion of what was sexuality. Some intimate friends had shown me obscene photos their buddies lent them. For me, it was a curiosity to try to understand these photos I found horrible. I had never imagined that such things could exist. It had truly often unsettled me a bit, and these obscene pictures haunted my imagination when I was alone in my room at nights. In my classroom, I was keen on general literature. I was interested in the life of the main French and foreign writers. I had the pleasure to read world famous works. I selected many romantic novels that fed my imagination in a way and registered with the regional library in Saint-Denis. I was allowed to take six books home for a period of one month with the possibility to extend the delay if I wanted to keep them longer. I read till late in the evening after my home works. During the third quarter, I had worked too hard. I began to feel tired. My parents worried about my health. They took me to a doctor. I should have stayed in bed for several days to avoid sinking into a depression.
I was not insensitive to the evolution of the society. I made observations on everything I saw when walking on the streets or during a walk. With time passing by, I accepted that life could include distractions that only young people could benefit. Some friends I’ve known for years tried to make me understand that I had to change my attitude towards the young boys who flirted with me. I did not want to throw myself in the lion’s mouth. I thought that I would not harm anyone if I looked lovely and was attentive to those Casanovas.
I resolved to do what I wanted. My mother was the first to notice the changes in my habits and let me know about her concerns because I often went home late. I looked beautiful. I did nothing wrong in high school. I only spent time in the library chatting idly with friends. I still cannot explain why I preferred staying with my friend than being home. My father was informed of my delays. He came to my room and asked why I was always late. I explained that the guys I stayed with late were not bad company. I was responsible enough to know what I had to do and not to do. It was not an answer my father wanted to hear.I felt sorry. I had found no other explanations. A little later, I apologized to him and assured him I did nothing wrong or incriminating. He felt better and told me that he trusted me and knew I had my head screwed on my shoulder. As New Year Eve parties approached, all the pupils were happy.We did not have a lot of homework anymore and spend time amusing ourselves. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. My presence in groups of young with a “will-o'-the-wisps” reputation astonished many suitors I had rejected before. It seemed I was welcome in this circle I had always avoided. Some boys I had hurt might think I was an easy prey. I could not imagine the way I had behaved in high school had displeased to the young wolves. They were ready to eat me alive. In spite of my efforts not to fall into the traps of existence, I amused myself like a mad girl among a crowd of unknown persons. This environment was so new and strange that I felt quite lost. I had the impression to be in a labyrinth, searching desperately for my path.While the feast escalated, the few friends who were with me joined their boyfriends who dragged them to the games. I stayed alone until some friends implored me to join them. I found their company so pleasant that I spent the whole evening with them. As night approached, some few electric bulbs gave light into the big room. I started to enjoy these pleasures while mixing with the crowd. I did not realize I was amusing me in the arms of these boys I had rejected many times. It was the beginning of a new life that will not stop taking an important place.During my studies, I met a metropolitan boy who seemed kind to me. Since we had met, he would not leave me. He was the nephew of a teacher. He was spending a few week vacations on the island. He spoke to me about the world as if he had been living for a long time. He was cultured, and I was fascinated by his intelligence. He wanted to visit my home. I discussed with my mother. She refused as she thought it was not a good thing to be friend with boys and let strangers come home.
“He is not a stranger. He is a friend!” I retorted.
“If he is a friend, meet him outside. I do not allow anybody home. How long have you been friends? It is not of your habit to make friend with boys. You think your father will be happy to know it? Our religion does not allow this behavior.I advise you to change if you want to keep your head held high. Our honor depends on how you behave."
I felt an immense sadness. I seized all the opportunities to meet him in discreet places where we could speak freely. I was in love with this boy who had a different religion. It made my life difficult.When I evaluated the situation, I knew that I was wrong. I did not have the courage to leave this man I loved so much. My mother discovered I was in love. She was deceived. She could not accept I loved a metropolitan boy. What would she say to her husband? She made threats and insulted me for this dissolute life I was leading. She started to search for a husband for me before I would dishonor the family. Many times, we had unexpected visits, and I introduced to men far from my tastes and aspirations. Some wore an Arabic strange and course suits, long beards. They frightened me such that I wanted to go. No one suited me. I was not allowed to leave the house without any reason. I was terribly sad as I could not meet the man I loved and who was in my thoughts. After a week without him, I felt a strong desire to see him even though it was necessary to run a high risk. I hoped I would find an excuse to trick my mother who continually kept an eye on me. Florence gave me a letter from my lover who was announcing he had to go in France soon. I wanted to meet him before his departure. I was desperate. I could never see him again. I was so sad and sorry that I wanted to die. When my friend left, I had the idea to ask my love to come to see me in the evening.I was sure that he would make it. I regretted I could not solve things this way. I had only one solution: go to his home. How could I deceive my mother's vigilance? She kept watch on all my movements. I asked Florence to give Christophe a message asking him to come to see me in the evening. I let the window of my room open. He arrived at midnight and entered my room. I murmured to him how unhappy I felt far from him. He understood the deep feelings I had for him and took advantage of my weakness to make love with me. I experienced an intense pleasure. We separated at dawn and promised to meet again as soon as possible.
I met him several times, and we made love for hours without tiring. I was happy. The day Christophe had to leave I locked myself in my room and cried for a long time. Florence soothed me away. She knew my least secrets.
Original title : Un amour de jeunesse
Translation by ©Kader Rawat Author