Chere Julie, dear Jules (Part 9)
Jules Lablagues xx
My dearest Julie,
Your letter arrived just an hour ago and I read it as soon as I had finished changing Jacques nappy. That is a terrible task when you are dealing with a twenty nine year old man but much less so now that he is being bottle-fed. My grandmother is frequently incontinent and it is my mother who takes care of it. I understand now why my mother does not do it as frequently as she should. My grandmother smells quite terribly sometimes and nobody wants to sit in the same room as her. It can really spoil a meal sometimes.
There was a terrible storm in the night and this morning, as I walked around the grounds, I found many broken branches. I will have to tell the gardener. In the night the fierce wind tried to tear the roof off the house and rattled the windows until I thought they would break. The thunder boomed and seemed to shake the air and each time Jacqueline held on to me with all her might. I told her not to worry as thunder cannot harm a person but she was petrified. I was afraid I would have bruises on my back.
I was sorry to hear about the cancellation of Sally's wedding. As you have already purchased the material could you not make the dress anyway? I would be willing to purchase it from you at a price that would afford you a deserved profit. If you make it to fit yourself I am sure I could find comeone among my friends, family or neighbours who knows somebody with a newly-engaged daughter who is your size. If not, I would retain the dress and consider it a work of art of which you are the creator. Maybe you could send me some of your designs and I could pick the one I prefer. I have no experience of choosing a wedding dress but I am sure one of my dear sisters would help me. Odile would be more than willing as the Zentor faith, of which she has been a devout follower for more than a week, values altruism and humility above all else. She is always asking if she can do something for me but it is rare that I need her help and definitely not twelve times in an hour so I must disappoint her often. Her humility is painful to watch sometimes. At times she considers herself to be the lowest form of life on earth and her goal is to be in this state twenty four hours a day. As she has only been able to attain the condition of abject humility for some minutes at a time it would seem that she has a long way to go but she is not daunted. She apologises to every blade of grass she walks upon and worships mushrooms.
Genevieve, with her artistic skills, would also be willing to help me choose a design for the wedding dress but nobody has seen her for more than a week. She is very busy with her masterpiece entitled The Last Painting. It will be a picture which will only be complete at the moment of her death. Like life itself it will evolve continually. Genevieve has explained that she has no fixed image in mind and no clear vision of the finished product and to know this she would have to be aware of the exact moment of her impending death. As she could die at any moment the painting is always potentially complete and she tries to regard it as a finished work after every stroke of her brush. As evolution does not sleep at night and Genevieve does, she has her work cut out to catch up during the day. This is why we do not see her. She obviously leaves her room for food but I think she does it during the night. The windows of her room are painted black and nailed shut. Five days ago a note appeared on her door asking not to be disturbed and, of course, we respect this. We recognise that it is time consuming, trying to catch up with evolution.
One of Pierre's model aeroplanes escaped yesterday when it broke free of the line that he was holding. You must undertand that the aeroplane goes round and round at the end of a long wire which is held by my brother. It was a new jet plane that he was trying out for the first time and it reached such a speed that my brother was spinning like a top. He lost his balance and, in falling, jerked on the line and the aeroplane broke free. He swore later that he was close to breaking the sound barrier which would be the first time it had been achieved with a model aeroplane. Pierre is now constructing a revoving platform on which he will stand when he next attempts to break the sound barrier. He says that he is unable to revolve fast enough on his feet even when he is wearing spiked shoes.
We had to phone the Ministry of Defence to explain about the lost aeroplane travelling at close to the speed of sound just in case they picked it up on their radar and wondered what it was.
You express reservations about my English cousins' acceptance of your situation in life but I assure you that, if I introduce you as a good friend, their kindness towards you will be unbounded.
This man, Mr. John Johns, sounds like what we designate a village idiot; a harmless, but potentially offensive, individual who is tolerated by all as an example of a person in a much worse situation than themselves. Some of the villages around here have more than the one idiot and a hamlet, of not more than a dozen houses, a kilometre from here, has no less than ten. I am not sure if this is a good thing.
It was my intention to send you a card for St. Valentine's day but I was afraid my intentions would be misunderstood. It is the patron saint of lovers and I would have sent you a card to wish you love in the coming year and to hope that you will find the man of your dreams. After receiving your letter I wished I had sent a card. I had imagined you would receive many cards and bouquets of flowers but it seems things are done differently in England. St. Valentine reminds us of our potential to love and we send cards to remind each other that the highest form of love, and that, from which all other love stems, is that of a man and a woman for each other.
I hope that everything is well with you,
13 Beach Street
My wonderful dearest Jules,
Do you really mean it that you will buy the wedding dress if I makes it. I'm so excited my hands are shaking and thats why the writing is all wobbly. I hope you can understand it. Just in case you means it I've put in some designs in the envelope but if you dont like them I've got some others. Let me know which one you likes best as soon as possible because I'm really itching to get started. I've put numbers on each one and the one I likes best is number three but dont let me influence you. Pick the one you likes best. Sharon likes number one and my mum thinks number five is beautiful. Kirsty cant make up her mind.
If we meets at your cousins place then I dont want to arrive alone so we'll have to meet somewhere first and then I can go with you. When I meets you for the first time I wants it to be a bit private so we can introduce ourselves properly. If its any trouble then I could find a bed and breakfast nearby. My dad said he would pay for it out of his redundency money but I really wants to meet you. I thinks about what it will be like all the time well not all the time but lots. I hopes your not disappointed when you sees me. I'm really ordinary. I dont look like anyone special. I looks alright when I'm done up at least thats what everyone says. I hates my ankles. Theyre really fat and looks like peeled potatoes so your going to have to promise me not to look at them. I wish I had Kirstys knees. Theyre really pretty but she wishes she had my waist. She's a bit plump in that region. If you took the best bits of all three of us you'd have a really beautiful woman or at least thats what my dad says.
The doctor signed a note to say that my dad is permanently disabled so he dont have to go and sign on anymore and he dont have to look for work anymore. My mum asked him what he was going to do with his time and he said that he would either start keeping pigeons or sign on for a computer course. He's always wanted to keep pigeons but my mum says she wont have them in the house. Messy things she says. Dad says he'll keep them in the attic and make a hole in the roof so that they can come and go. He said he'll train them to be just like the ones he saw in a circus when he was a boy. I've never been to the circus.
I thought it was strange that the Comtesse Jacqueline de Monfort is scared of thunder. Thunder dont hurt you. It was good you were there to comfort her but there is one thing I have noticed. She always seems to be there. Does she sleep over very often. In all your letters you talks about her being there but I thought you said that it was only now and then. I dont mind. Its none of my business who you sleeps with. Your not my boyfriend although I wish you was. Dont get me wrong I'm not asking you to be my boyfriend. I dont know what I'm saying. I feels closer to you than I ever did to any of my real boyfriends. I wish I knew someone like you who lived around here.
Now I feels like throwing this letter away and starting another one. I hope your not offended by me getting personal. I suppose its just because its such a long time since I had a boyfriend that it plays on my mind a bit. In fact I've never had a real boyfriend for more than a few weeks. I gets asked out sometimes but I'm not really interested. They seems really boring when I compares them with you like Terry Warnock who asked me out last week. He works in a laundry tying sheets up into bundles and thats all he talks about. You'd think it was the most important job in the world. He's very nice and everything but I wouldnt want to spend my life discussing bed linen.
Now I feels like crying. I dont know whats happening to me. I was really happy a while ago thinking about making the wedding dress and now I'm really sad. I feels really confused. Theres so much going on what with one thing and another and I dont know if I'm coming or going. Sometimes I feels really lonely and thats not like me at all. I've always liked being by myself a lot and I didnt need people around to make me happy but now I feels lonely sometimes even when I'm with someone. Its really bad sometimes when I am by myself and its like a black cloud going across the sun and its like the room goes dark but it dont really. Its just me feeling lonely that does it.
Now I'm feeling better. Telling you about my problems helps. I shouldnt complain because I got a good life really but since I started writing to you there seems to be something missing. Dont get me wrong I'm not complaining but its like you opened my eyes and I can see things different. Having you to write to is the nicest thing that ever happened in my life and I am really looking forward to meeting you.
Please write back soon with the wedding dress number and if you got any suggestions to make. It was nice you thought about sending me a valentines card and it would have been nice to get one from you although I would have known who it was from even if you didnt sign it because it would come from France but you can do it next year if you wants and I promise not to read any more into it than there is. In England we sends valentines cards to people that we fancies even if your already going out with that person. People who lives together sends cards to each other and my mum says my dad sent her one every year for years after they got married. It turns out that he bought a box of twelve real cheap and when they ran out he stopped sending one. When I was in school I used to get lots and all the boys that used to send them still lives around her but I hardly ever sees them. I dont go pubbing much and when I does go to the pub I hardly recognises anyone. Pam Stokes who was my best friend all through school still lives only two streets away but I dont see her much except by accident because she's married with three kiddies and she dont have time for anything else. Plus her husband dont want her seeing me. He dont say as much but when I used to visit her and he was at home which was most of the time because he's never worked and we was sat down having a nice cup of tea and a chat then he starts doing DIY in the room using an electric drill. Every time I went to see her he'd start putting up shelves in the room where we was and he wouldnt let her come and visit me or meet me anywhere else. He says a womans place is in the home. So we're not really friends anymore. I'm lucky I got my sisters and my mum or I wouldnt really have anyone to talk to. Thats why its really nice to write to you. Please write back soon.
With love, your friend
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