Chere Julie, dear Jules. (Part 27)
13 Beach Street
My very best darling Jules,
Thank you millions and millions of times for your letter that I read loads of times even before I had breakfast and then I didnt have any because I wasnt hungry no more but it dont matter because I has such a big meal in the Pheasant Plucker at lunch time that I dont really need to eat breakfast.
You dont have to feel bad about not writing really happy letters to me if you dont feel happy but I'm really sad that your not feeling really happy. If you really wants to eat a bit of meat then I dont see no harm in it and all I was saying was that I thought it was cruel to cook swans when they was still alive and that was all. I eats meat every day in the Pheasant Plucker and it dont bother me at all. I never been in there before because its so expensive but now I been there four times in less than a week and I'm getting used to it. Most days I has prawn cocktail but yesterday I had the home made asparagus soup because it was really cold outside. For the main course I tries to take something different every day but its a really big menu with six different kinds of fish and everything so its going to take me a while to try all the different things that they got. Yesterday I had Tornados Rossini what is this small really thick steak and there was a sort of liver paste on the top and a gravy that smelled like red wine with bits of truffle in it. It was really scrumptious. Oh I'm sorry Jules about talking about meat but I forgot you was a vegetarian and I cant get used to it. With it came broccoli and pommes parisienne which is little tiny round potatoes and they was really delicious too. We was drinking some fancy red wine that was about 25 years old and Julien was speaking French all the time and I didnt have the faintest idea what he was talking about and he went on and on and I kept nodding now and again and he didnt stop talking for about two hours but even though I didnt know what he was talking about it wasnt boring. He was waving his hands about and jumping up and down and once he got up and marched up and down the restaurant saluting and shouting really loud but I got no idea why he did it. We were the only ones there thank goodness because if there had been other customers there they would have been a bit worried. Apart from the marching and saluting this is pretty much like what it is like every day and he just talks French to me nonstop and I dont have the faintest idea of whats going on. I'm not sure that this is the best way to learn French and I wish he would slow down a bit and let me ask some questions but I'm not complaining because I am picking up some things like how to say hello and thank you and goodbye but its really slow going.
My dad got another job now because he couldnt stand the noise and the shaking at the other place but when he told the social that he had left they said he shouldnt have done and they threatened to stop his benefits. They had to write it all down though because he couldnt hear a thing they was saying and at first they wouldnt believe that he was deaf and then one of them pretended to go out of the room and he went behind my dads chair and screamed as loud as he could in my dads ear and he didnt flinch so they knew he was deaf. Dad said the only reason he knew it was because of the mans breath on the back of his head. The problem then was to find a job for a deaf man and that wasnt easy because the only job they had for deaf people was working in the paving stone factory where my dad was. He was really lucky though because then the phone rang and it was somebody looking for a man to work in a chicken killing factory and so my dad went for the job and got it. He dont have to kill no chickens though because you got to work there for a while before you gets to do that job because you works with an electric knife and got to wear special rubber clothing. All my dad got to do is pull the chickens out of the cage by their legs and hang them upside down from sort of hooks thats moving towards the man with the electric knife. My dads got scratches all over his arms and says his shoulders is aching but they got a canteen where you can eat all the chicken you wants for free and he's eaten four and a half chickens in three days. I seems to be always talking about meat and I forgets that you dont eat it no more but its really difficult not to mention it and I hopes it dont bother you too much.
Its less than six months until i gets to see you again and I'm getting excited already. Sometimes six months seems like a long time like forever and sometimes it seems like the day after tomorrow and it all depends on how I'm feeling. Today it feels like a really long way away and in between theres Xmas and my birthday and the whole of the winter to go through yet and it makes me a bit sad but then I thinks that I'm going out to lunch soon in a posh restaurant so things cant be too bad. I wishes I was going out with you instead. I misses you something terrible sometimes and I'm tempted to take the next plane to France and come to visit you but luckily I dont know how you goes about it or what it costs. Sometimes I feels that if I have to wait one more minute I'm going to explode or pass out or something and its really too painful to think about how long I got to go before I kisses you again. I really enjoyed kissing you and thats the first time that I actually liked kissing a man. I can still remember exactly what it was like and how you smelled and how when I was looking in your eyes it felt like I was peering into the ends of the universe. I've never felt anything like it before and I wants to do it again but I got to wait another six months. When Julien kisses me on both cheeks lots of time and on my hands and arms as well it dont feel the same as when your kissing me. Its a bit of a pity really that I had to wait so long before I found out how nice it can be with the right person because when I was growing up I didnt want to kiss the boys.
I been trying to write some poems and I dont know why I started but I suppose thats what love can do to you but I havent got anywhere really yet. I was thinking about you one day and suddenly I felt like writing a poem and that was really strange. If ever I writes a good one I'll send it to you to see what you thinks about it. I knows what I wants to say but I dont know how to say it proper and it makes me concentrate like mad when I'm trying to think of a word that rhymes with one I already got and sometimes it gives me a headache if you understands my meaning and I knows where it comes from and its me using my brains. I'm not used to concentrating on things so much. I stopped doing that a long time ago.
I talked with my mum and dad about me coming to visit you in France and it caused a really big argument and my mum was saying why not and my dad was saying because he said so and I was crying in the middle but it didnt make no difference. Sometimes I wishes I was an orphan and I didnt have to listen to them but I cant really afford to leave home and I dont know where I would go anyway. I'm really sorry about that but I did my best and I really would like to see you again as soon as possible but we're going to have to wait until spring. I'm already planning things for us to do and I already knows what I'm going to be wearing when you gets here. I loves you more than I can say and I hopes you feels the same about me.
I love you
Jules Lablagues xx
Julie, mon amour,
I think I am experiencing the pangs of acute jealousy and I feel I must tell you about it. It is not an emotion of which I know a great deal as it has rarely been needed in my life. I was, of course, aware of its existence but, while I was able to sympathise with a person suffering its torments, I was, until now, unable to fully empathise with a victim of this most painful affliction. I understand now what you went through when I talked of my friendship with Jacqueline and you were, as yet, unaware of the innocence of our relationship. I am profoundly sorry for any pain I, inadvertently, inflicted upon you by my thoughtless words and I beg you to forgive me.
When you spoke of the hours you spend with Julien I sank into a deep, dark depression where physical pain would have been sweet relief from the acute mental torture I experienced. I despised myself for my base emotions and considered suicide as the only proper thing to do in order to rid the world of this most unworthy personage but to die would have meant never seeing you again and this was even more distressing than the anguish of jealousy. I then considered killing Julien and, even as I hated myself for doing so, I felt a warm rush of pleasure in contemplating the fact that he would no longer be in your company for so many hours of the day. I devised a dozen ways of eliminating him from our lives and justified my proposed course of action by denigrating his character and blaming him for his impropriety. I imagined the relief I would feel when he was no longer there with you kissing your face, hands and arms. It is not normal to be so effusive when greeting a member of the opposite sex and I grow angry when I think of Julien embracing you like a young lover. Yet, apart from the embarrassment, you seem to have felt very little discomfort. Am I to infer that you derived some small pleasure from the experience? I would not deny you any pleasure but I think Julien is guilty of grave misconduct and, were he not my cousin, I would feel justified in chastising him in an appropriate fashion. I try to distract myself from thoughts of you and him together. Julien is my cousin and a gentleman and it is wrong of me to suspect him of unbecoming conduct. They all grew fond of you at the house , as I well understand, but their affection was always tempered by protocol.
My mind is in a turmoil. I am the most wretched of creatures and I am not deserving even of the time it takes for you to read this letter. Please forgive me. I experience the deepest depressions and inhabit a sombre, dark world where happiness seems just a distant memory. A world where there is no hope for the future and the past is no more than an illusion. I have been fooling myself, all of my life, that I was in control of my own destiny and the master of my emotions yet these past few days have taught me that there is a greater force in the universe which directs my destiny and shapes my life. I am subject to a power so strong I am helpless in my acquiescence to its demands.
My misery was compounded by your parents reluctance to allow you to travel to France. You must not go against their wishes but you must stand up for yourself and express your feelings. You are no longer a child and they must understand this. I know that it is hard for parents to let go of their offspring and usher them into the waiting world but it is in granting independence to their children that they, themselves, retrieve their own lost independence.
I was delighted to hear of your interest in writing poetry. It has long been a great pleasure for me to express my thoughts and feelings in poetry, especially in sonnets and I would like to share with you one I wrote just a few days ago when my desire for you was almost unbearable and my love for you almost painful.
For his English Lady.
If given a millenium, I might
Find phrases fit to cover love and us.
A library of books I'd need to write,
With not one single word superfluous.
My love writ down in stanzas, tame and terse,
Would weighty tomes and volumes overfill;
To justice do, in fourteen lines of verse,
I'd need the skill of noble Shakespeare's quill.
With three score years and ten I might succeed
In telling not a tenth of all I can,
Mere mortal, I, a dozen lives would need,
And those the length of old Methus'la's span.
To put my ageless love for you in rhyme,
Eternity would not be too much time.
I am aware that it has its faults but, for me, it is not what a person writes but what a person feels when one is writing that is important. As I struggled to express myself in words I felt my love for you expand until there was nothing else other than you and me and a universe of two matching souls. You make me complete.
I love you a la folie and know not how I am to survive these next few months without you. I worship the ground that you walk on and caress every breath that you take. You are everything to me.
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