(If you find out « Mômmanh », « existence », « need of existence », please go to chapiter 2 to learn more...)
What did she do to obtain two weeks holidays? I quite believe that she underwent surgery. It seems to me that it was some kind of fashion at that time, amongst the well informed young girls: to avoid all risks of appendicitis which could have thwarted a pregnancy, they used to have their appendix removed. The fact is that she arrived at my house, without warning, on a beautiful evening of the month of October.
A primary school teacher, I“was teaching” at a school in the countryside, in a big village with sweet hedged farmland to the West: Landory. I had rented a little house at the edge of the fields, near a little wood dominating a charming valley, rich in pastures, with extensive fertile lands, of cheerfulness, of scents and of fruits. Its branches have just started to blaze the reddish colours of autumn.
Buried in this flourishing countryside, concealed beneath the hotch potch of greenery; I often harboured the illusion that the evil ones would not come to look for me there. On this planet which sometimes seemed to me too vast, sometimes too little, Landory was my intimate refuge. But I also had the recollection that this shelter had been ripped open during the carnages of the last World War. Thus, if I was well here, at my house, I was thinking that I had to leave, for plenty of reasons, the most pressing was this: the destiny of this little world which I loved so much was a gamble elsewhere, and I wanted “to see”.
What is the field of active existence?
I call “the field of active existence” that in which we can act. Oh well, you can notice that the field of our active existence has become worldwide. Doesn't our Mmômmanh request that we try to come out in the best way from that big planetarian mess? She even asks us to go and look beyond.
Because, as the Ameridians before the conquest used to ignore the surprise which the unknown ocean could bring to them, we do not know what the intersidereal space is reserving for us.
And if it contains the same surprise as that of the Ameridians: whatever it takes to destroy us?
My teaching day being over, I used to go home. I had “done my teaching” three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon: during the breaks, I had strolled to and fro the courtyard, chatting with my colleagues; I had assured the supervision of the canteen at noon, in exchange for my meal, I had kept my grown-ups an hour longer, for the evening study, to perfect their preparation for the examinations, by making them swallow a supplementary problem and a dictation; I had finally prepared my chart for the following day as well as my lessons. Ah! I was going to forget to correct the copybooks. It was an ordinary day which ended well and I was beginning to enjoy the two or three hours of freedom which were ahead of me.
I had the senior class, and naturally, they were all boys. The co-educational system in our schools was still an exception: therefore the girls were in another school. That is why all my students were boys. The inhabitants of the village, who could be considered as important, all little “bourgeois”, sent their children to study in the city, to the elementary, then to the secondary. AND that is why nearly all my students were peasants. They were between eleven to fifteen years of age. Some of them were preparing for their entrance examination to the sixth class, some others the famous “Certificate”, the Certificate of the Primary Studies, the test that these sons of the working class had well acquired the “instruction” sufficient for that period of time. In fact, the initiation of the young peasants was marked by two tests: the “Certificate”, and the revision council, republican tests in which one had to be successful to be a real man.
The “Certificate” was the crowning of the primary level studies. One had to do it at the age of fourteen, the end of compulsory schooling, and whoever obtained a pass mark in it was very proud: “Oh! Good God!”. For the occasion, they had the right to some brandy, a “Man's” drink, and there was some in excess.
The Revision Council was an examination of good physical and mental health for which it was necessary to present oneself naked in front of the Mayor and plenty of “Messieurs”. The “Messieurs” were people who in all circumstances spoke correct French and who, everyday, wore shoes, a suit, a tie, and were “intelligent”, that is to say cultured and consequently destined to managerial posts. The young peasant, the conscript who had passed successfully in front of the Revision Council was classified “Suitable for military service”, that is to say that he would soon have the honour to serve in the French army. “Suitable for the army, In the Name of God”: with this declaration which they declaimed proudly for whoever wanted to hear it, the happy chosen ones finally felt fully fledged men; they were so expected to celebrate in the company of the “conscripts”, and to wash down copiously, with plenty of rounds, the happy event.
But History was not trotting: she had already started galloping. She was relegating rapidly in the folklore and in the museums that way of living which my youth had kneaded. As a little ordinary peasant, I had known school in clogs, the trips in the cart, the common room of the little farm with its two big beds, its big chimney and its beaten earth floor, lit by an oil lamp, the water which we used to bring up from the shafts, the poultry which pecked and shook themselves in the yard and on the stony path... And now, you see where we are! The speed and the nature of the changes which have appeared on the menu of these last thirty years are such that I suffer from a permanent indigestion. Less fat, please! But, as the song goes:
“It's not you who are leading the train, It's the train which is leading you”...
However, as regards the changes, I formed part of those who wanted some of them in big numbers! When you will know the original meaning of the expression “All the time and at every opportunity”, you will know what sort of world I wanted.
While the peasant complained “all the time and in every opportunity”, the factory worker did the same thing “all along the chain”: this last expression which I have just imagined is the equivalent of the first. You know how the factory worker complained, he who all day long, of the week, of the year, and even of the very same life sometimes, in his noisy factory, he remained tied to a manufacturing chain or to the assembly line, the body and the mind totally absorbed in repeating indefinitely the two or three precise actions for which there were still no robots.
Oh yes! Man, that dear child of Mômmanh, so gifted, and who does not know yet the limit of his capabilities, compelled to be nothing else but a living part of the mechanical chain of the factory: it was the last dated of his broken hopes and all those promises of fertile lives once more thrown as food to the business sharks.
The factory worker evaded that slavery at the end of each week, during the two precious days of the weekend; he escaped from them once more in the occasion of numerous public holidays, sometimes stretched by the extended weekends; he finally got to know the total escape during the plentiful weeks of the paid holidays. The less known condition of the peasants, at the same time, was worse.
Most of the time, the peasant was busy working a field, strip by strip, his big clogs weighing down by the sticky land, progressing painfully from one end to the other of the land, coming back in the same way and doing this till all the surface had been entirely done, in the same way the labourer advanced heavily furrow after furrow. This boredom was increased by the physical effort, sometimes painful, which rendered the body heavier still. Having arrived at the end of the field, the peasant was highly tempted to stop to “have a sip”, or simply to rest, or still go back home saying: “I shall continue tomorrow, considering that I'm not in good shape.” from which the expression: “All the time at every opportunity”: one could not “drink all the time and at every opportunity”, nor idle about, much less have a nap or go to see his beautiful one at the end of the field!
And it is because, although the cities are more and more distant from the countryside, one hears nevertheless reflections of this type: “Refrain from asking me the time all the time and at every opportunity!”, “One must not sound one's horn all the time and at every opportunity!” and even, with a great depth, “One cannot make love all the time at every opportunity”.
Ah well, for me, this expression has kept all the strength of its origins. When I hear it, it always attracts in full light, towards the eye of my conscience, some enduring and painful recollections of my youth as a peasant. Yes, I still see that blasted field and its end often worked till the brink of despair. After having grunted for an hour to hoe and earth up a row of potatoes, I finally reached the end of the field; the only perspective was to grunt all along another row and so on and so forth till the end of the day, then till the end of the week, and start again for all the other heavy manual jobs such as the spreading of the manure, the hoeing, the reaping... till the end of the year, till the end of life.
And do you know that it was not the only sorrow of the peasant? It was not enough to deprive him of the slightest real chance to start a surprising voyage towards the infinities of space and of time, to start to weave his existence in a cloak of stars covered by millions of springs; it was not enough that he had been nailed to the soil, condemned for his whole life, not to have any horizon but the end of his field, it was also necessary for him to suffer and that his body in pain had been disfigured, dirty, worn out prematurely by that work which was too hard. When compared to his great-grandchildren, the youngsters of our time, the peasant of that time was short because his slavery did not allow him enough time to grow up, and he was doomed to a premature death, worn out by an exhausting job. If you do not truly understand what I have wanted to say, take a good spade like ours, solid, quite heavy, and dedicate a little time to turn over the soil of the garden: well ahead of the falling of the night, my message will be inscribed in your flesh.
The Church used to ban work on a Sunday, except when necessary otherwise it was necessary to ask the permission of the Parish Priest. It was the Day of the Lord and also the only day of rest of the week. Ah well, do you know how it was spent? It was necessary to wash oneself - Yes! - in a cauldron of hot water, to go to mass; it was necessary to milk the cows, clean the cowshed and the stable, feed quite frequently during the day all the animals: cows, calves, bulls, horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits... , which did not exempt him at all from preparing the meals for the human beings. Guess how much free time did he have left to widen his horizon?
It is because, on reaching the end of our potato or beetroot field, many a time I happened to have a fit of despair. It is because school had become so important to me, after that day of my infancy when I had gone there out of sheer curiosity: Madame Dorisse, the infants' teacher, had kindly invited me to look in her magic lantern. It was like a box into which one could look through a hole. One could see photos which for me were marvellous: mountains, rivers, black people, cities, and Chinese... , a glimpse of the vast world, inaccessible after the prison which my village stood for. After which, Madame Dorisse had crammed my pocket with biscuits and had sent me back home because I was too young.
Guess what I am thinking of.
From my school, I was expecting my freedom and, since I was not completely selfish, that of my young peasant friends. I hated the slavery of the fields; I refused that pseudo-existence of a mole or an ant. I wanted to see with my own eyes the vast world, and I did not want to be happy with the stories which they related to us. I wanted to taste with my own mouth the amazing flavours: the mere evocation did not give me satisfaction. I wanted to contribute to the development of the machines and expertise, a progress which was already well-committed and which would bring well-being and leisure to the peasants. And even if I had, with my own eyes, to discover that the universe was not turning as it should, I quite had the intention to contribute to rectify its function.
Finally I reckoned that school pulled me out of the slavery of the fields that it led me to a vast world to taste the new pleasures I caught a glimpse of in the books, and finally she rendered me master of my existence. Besides, the expression “to be master of” was part of my peasant language and when I used to tell my father:
“- I am quite free to do what I want, anyway!
The immense call for freedom which, for me, made itself heard at school and encouraged me to study, and I was far from thinking that it would have led me so far away, on tracks which sometimes were difficult and dangerous. For all that, I have never given up: when I believe to have the permission to rest for a long time, it does not take me long before I am spared to get back on the saddle. But does knowledge truly render a person free? What do you think?
In which way is knowledge a liberator? In which way is ignorance a prison?
I asked the question to Mômmanh. Quite often, her answer was confused. I believe that she wanted to say this.
“- Knowledge, is the freedom which is no longer blindfolded. Let us see, I have created you so that you'd be my conscience, my clear perspective on the universe. Do you want to deprive me of this conscience? - Surely no. - Without this knowledge of the world which I beg you to bring to me, my wish for existence cannot find ways to realize itself. It is not free to do what it wants. The chains and the prisons are not the only shackles: ignorance too.”
It is because my return to my native land, as an instructor, was only temporary. I was preparing a new take-off to discover the world. I dedicated a good part of my spare time to inform myself about the possibilities of a career abroad. Was it that perhaps I had to leave alone, without my beloved one? “Ah well, so much the worst!” Since I had finally succeeded to seduce a beautiful girl, I should hope truly, to find another one whose behaviour was not totally disconcerting, where my road led me. Was I dreaming of the Polynesian girls? It seemed to me that it was so. Luckily, “My Love” had not renounced to her prey: I therefore did not have the opportunity to follow to a bitter disillusion this mirage of a beautiful exotic virgin kissing, my majestic feet of a great white sachem, after having washed them.
While waiting, not having the slightest suspicion of the new turn which destiny was going to play on me, I returned peacefully to my house, on a sumptuous autumn evening, dreaming that the mushrooms would become rare but that the time of the chestnuts was nearly there. The air was lively: there would be the dew the following morning, and perhaps even some fog. Behind the little wood with red foliage, the sun was on the verge of setting. It was embracing the sky with an immense firework, with an orgy of colours which moved me. Who was the generous leader of the orchestra? And where? Whoever he was, a thousand thanks!
Was it for that reason that there was an apparition on the threshold of my house? Yes, I know: you are not at all surprised, since you knew it before my arrival. But for me, it was more than a surprise and I was quite close, that evening, to believe again in the supernatural.
She was sitting on the granite doorstep of my house, indifferent to the freshness of the air, although she was sensitive to the cold. In fact, I realised soon that she was shivering, and I know now why she exposed herself to the freshness of the evening: it was “to be better warmed up, my child!”
How the theory of the struggle for existence is still nothing but a hypothesis.
Don't worry, if notwithstanding the fact that I had become a materialistic atheist, I address God just the same. Be assured, there is no sign of madness. When beauty is soon given to me suddenly, fulfilling with one stroke my desires beyond all the hope, that I exclaim: “Yes! I will follow you everywhere. I will never forget”, when it is so strong that I will fall on my knees if the fear of being ridiculed will not hold me back, if it is not God, whom therefore do you want me to take as witness?... Mômmanh? Surely no! I would be showing off, to invoke a hypothesis.
“What?... Well, I agree! I continue my "story".”
She embraced me lovingly as if the tearing apart of our couple had never taken place. With one stroke I was conquered again. No, I was not feeling like a net which fell on me and paralysed my movements: on the contrary, I was feeling a sensation of great freedom, even of release. I warmed her with my body, then I lit the fire in the fireplace and we celebrated our reunion as lovers.
Although we carefully respected the loving ritual which our young experience had taught us, we could not know that evening, ecstatic union of the bodies and the souls. A little disappointed, and vaguely worried, we tried to sleep just the same. Later, we discovered that such a partial failure followed nearly always an extended separation. It was necessary that our two beings would discover themselves, assess themselves again; re-adjust themselves one to the other so that our bodies could in their own way enter in harmony and so they would enjoy the inspiration of a beautiful concert of love.
What is the negative stress? What is the positive stress? What is anxiety?
Reconciliation follows the fight. It is then; a friend said to me, that one finds the pleasure of making love.
Is it necessary therefore to provoke some fights to get to know the best of love? That will be enough to drive you up the wall “because that does so much good when it stops”. But, in what concerns us you could have realised that it is not at all necessary to provoke artificial conflicts. Let's make the best therefore of this opportunity. And as for you, there is a less painful technique which you will know well how to discover.
Mômmanh has put in us two types of stress: the pain when we lose the existence and the happiness when we gain some of it. Two types of anxieties correspond to it: the fear of losing something acquired, which we call “fear”, and the hope of gaining new existence, otherwise called the “desire”. Fear gives us the chances of avoiding the catastrophe and the desire helps us to construct happiness.
We enjoy a moment of happiness when stress is over.
Having said that is it better to have to celebrate the armistice of 1918?... of the discoveries of Pasteur?... It is because we classify as “negatives” the first type of stress, related to sorrow and as “positive” the second, linked to happiness.
That does not prevent the negative stress from serving existence: they reveal their weaknesses. But it is better that they produce themselves under the form of anxiety, before the catastrophe. In other words it is better to be afraid of the accident before taking the wheel than when arriving at the morgue.
The outcome of a lovers' fight when it solves itself happily, puts therefore an end to the weakness of their love. It was one more step ahead.
If the peace which was hard to achieve is true, if we make love at that very moment, if we know well how to do it and, finally, if we are rather generous for the right thing to do, therefore our confused flesh must sing a new air, an exquisite music that we have never known yet. We will feel like hearing it.
Do you want an example? Here it is.
My well-beloved Jeanne declared: “If I am going to say “yes”-, if one day our children will have better chances of succeeding in their studies at the catholic school, I will send them without hesitation to the priests, between the woolly demagogy of the laymen and the success of my children, my choice is done.”
She did it, one more time. There followed a long period of discussions which, too often, led to violent disputes. They ended sometimes with break-ups which I did not know if they were definite and that hurt me.
Finally the day of reconciliation arrives.
This time, it's a true progress. Each one of us has shown himself capable of improving his point of view to do something more reasonable, that is to say a better perception of reality in order to build a better existence for us.
The secular's ideal is a priority, because, without it, our children as well as the future humanity will be in danger: such is the new conviction of my beloved one. The scholastic success is another priority and the bad management which reigns in certain schools does not allow them to reach it: here is the new opinion which I owe to that crisis. We have at least agreed.
A glowing kiss seals the new found peace. This peace seems solid, because it is good, good... We feel the pressing desire to go further in this way.
We chatted while we caressed each other all over.
“- If, in their school, the proportion of the dropouts becomes such that it is not possible to follow completely the course, what shall we do? - We shall look for another secular school for their own good, and that, will not be too far away from us. We will find a means to enrol our children. - Yes, but what if they refuse to enrol them under the pretext that we do not live in the area of that school? We shall find surely a means. Others will follow...”
The conversation continued peacefully accompanied by caresses which were more and fierier. Soon I remained silent to enjoy attentively the pleasure, especially the one I was giving because it guided my caresses: this way, it does not matter; here and there it is hot; here and there, it's exquisitely burning. Oh my my!...
We found ourselves naked on the bed.
While our souls have given themselves again to each other, our bodies were talking. While feeling each other, they found the best ways to communicate to fulfil their fusion. These contacts are hot, sweet, sources of waves which go flowing like a stream, like a river, like the sea. Electric? I don't know anything about it. Exquisite these waves, in any case. Much better than my grandma's apple pie. I understand now the expression “I have it in my skin.”
Jeanne too is listening to my pleasure. She adjusts her caresses consequently and creates an excitement in certain parts of my body which I did not know to be so... so... much?
“- You call me Erogènes. - Perhaps, but it's a word which does not speak. Let us say that they are the doors to paradise. Yes, dear reader, what else do you wish to know? - Is it truly necessary that each of the two partners looks for the pleasure of the other? Can't it be that each one will have his turn, for example?”
Making love can be compared to a voyage in space. By means of caresses, the two lovers lead to the fusion of the two bodies which provokes a concentration of energy. When that concentration is sufficient, it is enough to stimulate the two detonators so that they explode at the same time, provoking the setting-off of the rocket and its take-off. These explosions are called orgasms. The vagina, the vulva, the clitoris and the penis, surely, can act as detonators.
I will now try to answer your question.
One can, in fact, love a selfish person. And if on condition that you return the favour sometime, it will be much less difficult. It will be necessary however for the selfish person, when he feels the surge of the explosion of pleasure, he must be capable to hoist altruist in his cockpit, otherwise, he will explode all alone and his rocket will remain on the ground. It will be necessary, for the altruist lover, to find the very sensitive spot from where the explosion will take place and that he will know how to caress as one should.
How can selfishness kill love?
Therefore, not a grand trip in the company of a totally selfish person: Mômmanh grants the last reward to the capable lovers, to enrich themselves, to go and draw elsewhere and not in their ego. By this means, she pushes us to enlarge our existential field.
Well done, Mômmanh.
And now, let us return to see love in action.
We stretched ourselves naked, entwined on our bed. Our flesh was caressing ardently. We lay in the bed on the side, me behind her. That position offers plenty of advantages. She puts in contact the greater part of our body: our burning flesh, electrified, exchanging delightful messages. Now I know why women's buttocks undulate and invite us to follow them: they have something to offer. In contact with them I feel again sweet warmth which is not that of the radiator and exquisite surges of electricity take place which I would not find elsewhere. I can also feel with my whole hands the breasts of my beloved one, kiss her mouth at the price of some wriggling, and caress her half open sex with mine.
The fusion of our bodies has started. I penetrate tenderly my dear Jeanne, the beautiful one in which I want to be lost and reborn, the good fairy who has at last agreed with me. Her welcome is so sweet, so warm, so quivering that I feared I could not wait for the signal to start.
In a technical language, that is called precocious ejaculation. How do you avoid that miserable failure?
Now, I know how. I suppose that my impatience testifies a demand: that of experiencing orgasm. It is enough therefore that I have the strength to renounce to it. In order that it would not be too heroic, I said to myself that I could often, in case of necessity, evacuate my semen “with my hand”, later on surely. Thus relieved, I can continue to accompany Jeanne in her pleasure, until the moment when she will be ready to take off. With my sex, with my hands, and with my whole body, I look for the caresses which spark off in her waves of pleasure and flood us too with exquisite warmth.
The longed for moment arrived. Thank God, I could wait for it.
We two explode for a long time, again and again. Our bodies are carried away in a whirlwind of mad embraces which lead us far away, far away...
Two have become one. This two in one is calm, serene, happy. Shall I dare say that it spreads out to the dimensions of the universe? This will be literally a pretension without boundaries. Ah well, I said all the same, because it is that which I feel again.
The time is abolished. Invulnerable, we sail two in One..., both of us in a moment of triumphant eternity.
This grand voyage succeeded after the reshaping of the souls until the fusion of the bodies, in all my life, I have never known anything better. But it could not be granted to us that evening. It was necessary first to clean ourselves well from the nasty quarrel which had separated us.
What are the differences between screwing up and making love?
Oh yes! Love is not a joke, because it is impossible to cheat. Admire, once more, the wisdom of nature. The old blind teacher wants to guide us well while feeling our way towards happiness and ecstasy, provided that our thought would be enough to accept the necessary minimum of humbleness, but it would be in vain to want to cheat in the pleasures of love... She will not grant that one except to those who have won it.
“What? What do you say? How? Thinking of stealing the pleasures of love, it's really a funny idea. But why do it?” My poor friend, it however quite simple: one will make use of the act of carnal love like a drug. One will connect the complementary sexual organs like one plugs in an electrical appliance, the male plugs fitted together in the female plugs, and then one will experience the supreme happiness. One can do it, for example, after having in an inebriated state, crushed some bicycles and their drivers; one can do it after having lost his job through idleness, or still after having sold his house to pay the gambling debts; one can do it to forget, and let life carry on with its open wounds. What the lovers do will not be in the best of cases, anything but a fine champagne of excellent quality and one can buy it not at the grocer's, but in a hotel in the red district zone.
No! What they sell in brothels is a totally different thing.
As I have said to you,- so much worse if ramble on! - Love bursts out when two beings of complementary sexes enrich mutually their existence to such a point that they yearn to copulate. Those there, only will receive the supreme reward because, throughout the dark times, Mômmanh has known that it was good for her majestic desire of EXISTENCE : whoever overtakes in order to gain love will be like a crook, having done at least one step in that direction. So, to whoever cheats, his Mômmanh who knows him well is not going to give the ecstasy. At best, he will feel a bitter pleasure made up of regrets of what he has lost while cheating.
Moreover, the waves which irradiate the bodies of the lovers at the moment of the orgasm, and which transport us without a spaceship or a parachute across the stars, the waves unlike anything else are cries of joy which our Mother of the Remotest Ages keeps for us: Mômmanh in person. To one of them she asks:
“So, have you finally found the mother of your children?”
And he answers her sincerely
“- Yes, my Mômmanh.”
To the other, she says:
“- And you, my pretty one, have you finally met the father of your children?”
So, like the burst of an echo a triumphant “yes!”, Mômmanh opens her great heart of stars and of ferns.
“- Little does it matter to what type of children you are going to dedicate your life: some small children full of promises, a farm of horses, the struggle against sickness, the restoration of the hungry bodies and of the tired souls, the creations of beauties which carry us away towards happy tomorrows, the tapestry, the cheese shop, the embroidery, the tripe shop,... little does it matter to me! Granted that you have chosen them together and that, you love them, you have enough heart to love yourselves as well. Come, my children, so that I embrace you.”
So, a breathtaking kiss brings to an end the discussion.
How love requires a minimum of altruism
And if two lovers are interested strictly in themselves? Theoretically, such a case is impossible because we are tied to the six aspects of the existence; the three altruistic like the three selfish ones. Well. So, if two lovers practice only the minimum of altruism and a maximum of selfishness, will they have the blessing of Mômmanh just the same?
We have seen that, this blessing does not come unless the two bodies have given themselves to each other. For that, the most selfish must look for the pleasure of the other lover.
First of all, before arriving there, he has had to seduce him, that is to say grant his “myself-here-now” to the other “myself-here-now”, for example, “my house, my garden, my servants, a sumptuously laid table, my prestige...” and the very same wishes of the beloved one.
And before seducing him, he has to render himself attractive by decorating his wedding presents with good baits: goods, well paid and prestigious job, skills, relations, health and physical strength... He has to render himself a “good match”. He has had to tear away from the “now” and work hard for the future.
In brief, even for the selfish person, the search for love imposes a certain renouncement to the “myself-here-now”, a minimum dose of altruism.
Why has the natural selection given to man selfishness and altruism?
But the true question is not there. Why is it that Mômmanh will only bless altruistic love? Through us, it is necessary to say it again; she searches for the six forms of human existence and the three selfish ones form part of it.
Through man, on our little planet, Mômmanh reaches a field of the conscience infinitely vast compared to those which she had known until then, that it was through the things or through the human beings. And remember, my friend reader, the way in which she gets there: through the tunnel which constitutes each one amongst us, 6 billion human beings, 6 billion consciences distinct and necessarily different, obeying each one to that little bit of Mômmanh.
I chose myself as example, myself, among the 6 billion, because it is the only one which I have in my hand.
The tiny bit of Mômmanh who commands me uses my conscience to realise her wish for existence. I call her “my Mômmanh”, remember it. She has brought me the memory of the tastes of all my ancestors as from the mineral age, the memory of all that pleased them. My existence consists in repeating those pleasures as much as possible and to invent others like them, even better, more close to the fulfilment, which is perhaps nothing but the control of the infinite in the space of time.
Locked up like this in the interior of my conscience, the biggest of all the prisons, my Mômmanh appreciates above all the existence which she can feel through my senses, concrete therefore, sure, and which at the same time satisfy her own tastes. In one word, my Mômmanh prefers the selfish existence, so close to her. And you, what pleasures do you feel best? Your own? Or those which perhaps your great-grand children will know?
So, do you think that Mômmanh is going to forbid the selfish from loving?
However, her old experience has taught her that selfishness is death. She will therefore grant the priority to altruism. The existence closest to her will be blessed as long as the existence will seem assured far away from her, in space and in time: preferably for the myself-here-now, priority to the other-elsewhere-always.
Therefore, that night, we had not been happy lovers. Frustration woke us up early the following day at the small hours. Our embraced bodies were rather cold when they should have warmed each other mutually. Since the air was very fresh, I lit the fire in the chimney. During that time, Jeanne made the coffee. I took out a round loaf of peasant bread, slices of smoked bacon and some Reinette apples, small and quite miserable but which stung strongly our mouth and forced it to appreciate them. There was also some quite creamy milk of the neighbouring farm and some salted butter. Jeanne had invited herself by surprise, and I could not buy her favourite food which eliminates the fat well before stifling the beauty. She therefore gave herself the exceptional pleasure to devour the same breakfast as myself. The good mood settled in.
You know the extraordinary glues of our time, magic potions which lead back to life the broken porcelains, and which render intact the broken objects, more solid at the glued places than they were before: could a love be patched up that way? I did not believe it. I asked Jeanne about our break up and she answered.
“- Which break up?
And naturally, our two bodies met again, each one finding besides the other the spot he had often looked for. His spot! Since our bodies are made of temporarily alive matter, a wise combination of atoms and of molecules, I started to ask the following question: when some hydrogen atoms and those of oxygen precipitate in the arms of one and the other forming water, with such a violence that one hears a great “bang!”, do they feel a happiness as big as ours? Oh yes! My madness, my mad need to understand everything was capable of spoiling the best moments. I was leaning to push her out of the way; at the same time, Jeanne carried me away resolutely on the way to happiness. She had come back; she had always been there, my well-beloved witch.
A thousand times more sure than the words which came out of her mouth, her delightful body of a fairy, in its whole entity, was saying: “I love you! Oh! I love you so much!” Lightning thoughts were crossing my mind: “- In order that she will never cease to love me like this, I will go as far as to walk on all fours and bark like a dog. - Hey there! Aren't you ashamed? If, as it has already happened, you must mutilate your dignity to nourish the hope of being loved, send your lovely one to the devil and without beating around the bush. There are thousands of others. - But finally, blasted kill-joy, I realise: since her arrival, she has not insulted you even once! It is perhaps the Jeanne of the strolls in the Alps who has come back for good. She has chased away the other, the virago of the holidays in Austria, like one drives away a nightmare after a painful awakening.” I had a violent yearning to believe that that last thought was expressing the truth: also without seeing that aspect of fairy tales which she had, I considered her as true.
Suddenly, the beginning of the worries which had aroused in me the curious forgetfulness of my exquisite promise was very easily forgotten. Her body had the taste of chestnuts and it evoked the opera which is played in the autumn sky.
So, we loved each other.
Is it quite reasonable?
The incident which followed our new nuptials should have made me suspicious, but it passed nearly unobserved.
I prepared myself to go to work. So, the virago, the one I had known in Austria, pointed again her wicked chin.
“- Where are you going my love?
And the great strangeness was erased by a tender kiss.
I left Jeanne at the house, all busy taking hold of the situation, and I went to visit my young friends, for a school day.
The children, lined up in front of the entrance of the class, showed me their hands stretched forth, a face then another: I could conclude that they were properly washed. I felt they were devoured by curiosity, but they kept silent and disciplined and none of them would have dared ask me the slightest of questions which were burning their lips.
At that time, the peasants saw the teacher as a superior person, a “Monsieur” who came down from his coach to come amongst them in the middle of the dung of the cows and tried to teach them, if not them for whom it was too late, at least their children. Although the French Revolution had happened ages ago, sowing across all the countryside the belief that all men are by nature, at all cost, equal, in spite of the praiseworthy effort followed for two centuries, the majority of the peasants, themselves, remained convinced of being by nature inferior men to whom the lottery of inheritance had unluckily given a limited intelligence.
That idea held on to the wrong interpretation of a fact: if they had not “learned well at school”, according to them, it was inevitably because they were not “gifted”. In that logic, those who had shown themselves capable of studying in the colleges and in the secondary schools of the city, those about whom one said with respect that they had gone to “The Big Schools”, those were “intelligent”. And the peasants believed that the majority of their children had not received the gift of intelligence since, in spite of all their efforts combined with those of the teacher and the remonstrance of the parents, they did not learn much.
But they were keen on this practical knowledge, authenticated by the famous Certificate of Primary Studies because it contributed a great deal to the improvement of their life. Furthermore, the primary school was also a lottery from where a big hit came out from time to time: an exceptional child, gifted for studies. One came to an arrangement then “to push” him into the “big schools”. Such had been my case.
Therefore, the teacher was supposed to have a superior intelligence. He gave the precious primary instructions which the peasants appreciated a great deal and, by doing so, he could from time to time, like a happy fisherman sometimes pull out of the water a legendary pike, arouse a beautiful thought of the great class, a Leonardo da Vinci who lay dormant, hidden behind the hedged bushes, at the end of the muddy road. I suppose that all these reasons had contributed to the setting up of the precious rule: one had to respect absolutely the school teachers. Happy times for the teachers... But this is another story.
To my young brothers, the peasants, my students, I was yearning to give this pleasure which would not have cost me anything: announce that Jeanne was my fiancée who had come from Paris especially to see us, me and my Landoriens, before our imminent marriage. But, after a good moment, my guardian angel pulled me by my sleeve into my blind conscience. I listened finally to him because he is often a good adviser.
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