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Marie-Claude, my beginning of Paradise!

Gigi, Annette's best friend, had moved in together with Daniel, the friend who had built the structural work of my house. He was a municipal councilor and a member of the feasts committee in a small village near Evreux, and from time to time we went out together at the weekend. The carnival season had arrived and with it the masked ball of his commune. Gigi and Annette, very enthusiastic in anticipation of this event, had planned to invite other merry friends and all to disguise us for the occasion. They had genuinely put all their heart into it, and according to the forecasts, we would form a group of eight or ten happy fellows. For my part, I had a lot more to think than to go waste my time on this kind of entertainment for which I had lost all interest from a long time, and a few days before the event, I was the only one who did not have still a costume despite the insistence of Annette. So I let myself bend to disguise myself as a prehistoric man, and the day came. I came back relatively late from my work, this Saturday, February 8, 1986, because I was still not very motivated by the night out. On the way back, I had time to think about what was waiting for me. Two solutions had then appeared to me acceptable: Or I dragged my feet away from the group throughout the evening, or I was remaining optimistic even when the going gets tough, and compelled me a little to give the impression of having fun. Upon my arrival, considering that everyone was already there, I took the unexpected solution of having fun quite simply. After all, since it was necessary to go there, as much as it serves to relax me: So I will clown!

My disguise itself allowed very well to enter into the spirit of the game, for in addition to the beard which I naturally wore at that time, and the tunic at long fur that Annette had made for me, I had put on a long haired wig which I had ruffled to the max. Provided with a big plastic bone that I carried from time to time to the mouth, it was enough for me to adopt the gait and the grunts of a monkey, to become the perfect Cro-Magnon man.

The music had just stopped between two dances, and each had just returned to his place when we made our entrance. There was no crowd, and as we were the largest and most disguised group, we were immediately the focal points, especially since our table was located opposite the orchestra, and was almost long the entire width of the dance floor. I was personally almost embarrassed about the situation and was about to sit quietly, when: Oh! Surprise! I saw Catherine and Gilles, this young couple we had known six or seven years ago. My neighbors of the building, when we had arrived in Evreux, where, in the small garage, I had built my first single-seat car. It was really unexpected! They was sitting quietly in the back near the orchestra. I then adopted the Cro-Magnon man's approach more than ever, and rushed towards them.

Immediately, I noticed a fear, almost anguish on their part. How came that, it was not a mistake, it was them? Unlike her usually cheerful and laughing habit, Catherine seemed more and more afraid of my approach. And Gilles? Gilles and the pretty blonde with them? How was it? The more I walked towards them, the more they seemed all three to compress themselves into their chairs? Still with my gait of monkey and my grunts of prehistoric man, I almost jumped on Catherine to kiss her first. She went from livid white to scarlet red???

They recognized me and came all three with obvious embarrassment, sitting at our table on my invitation. Surprised, I also noticed a little embarrassment of Daniel, but I did not fell on this small detail. I was on the moment, very satisfied to have managed to bring to our table the pretty little blonde who accompanied Gilles and Catherine, which was enough for me. No doubt you have already understood that according to my habits, I had set my heart on her at first sight. In the company of Annette, whom I feared more and more jealousy, I had to play tight if I wanted achieve the aim without giving her the awakening. So when Daniel tried to tell me the reason for his embarrassment, which seemed to me to be in relation to this pretty little blonde, I feigned not to be interested in her. I listened to him with an ear all the more distracted, that I had in the meantime noticed his insistence to dance with her. He was no less a womanizer than I was, and I had no intention of either giving him priority or attracting Annette's suspicions. In a word, I had to on both ways the need to show my disinterestedness of this pretty blonde. Annette had "always" know that I did not particularly like blondes, but it should not be abused!

I learned two weeks later, the reason for their various fears. Marie-Claude, the beautiful little blonde who also lived in this small village, had lived against her will for ten years, with a companion who had made the headlines in a bloody incident a few months ago. She had immediately perceived this event as the turning point, the liberation of her life, but the circumstances remained very difficult to manage. Gilles and Catherine, who had sympathized with her as neighbors, had insisted so much on dragging her to the ball, that she had finally let herself persuade to come with them. In this same little village where the "western" had taken place and some accomplices were still on the run, anyone who would had been angry at them, could have hidden behind my disguise to reach them. Their anguishes at seeing me rushing towards them was therefore not without a real motive, no more than the embarrassment of Daniel in these circumstances. Fortunately, neither of them were cardiac.

Their emotions were past, and I danced with Marie-Claude, the beautiful little blonde of one meter fifty. She seemed very happy, but I was disappointed when around three o'clock in the morning I offered her, my desk phone number to keep in touch with her and she did not take it. In the early morning, to close this festive evening, we all went together to eat the onion soup at Gilles and Catherine's. I think effectively remember me that I had somewhat manipulated in this direction, to know a little more about who you understood. I certainly pretended to ignore her in front of the group, but I was giving a sidelong look kept for watching the least of his movements. While the onions were peeling, and the soup was getting ready, she went away for a few minutes. On her return, the most innocently in the world, as by a courtesy, I inquired of the reason for her absence. From then on, I knew that she had gone to visit her children on foot, and given her short absence, she lived nearby. And me to go up as if nothing was: "0h La la! As it must be dark, you were not afraid? Hypocrite! ... "No! Because I have left the outside lighting on, to come back more easily"!

And that makes two! It was a done deal, it was enough that I leave a few seconds before her and I will know where she lived in. Think, at four or five o'clock in the morning, in a small country village, in the middle of February, the outside lights were not going many to be spotted. That morning, when I left the house of our friends, a glance to the right, a glance to the left, and I knew where she lived. I had acquired without giving the awakening, enough details on this little blonde to find her on the occasion, but it was despite very little.

Two weeks passed before our family departed for winter sports, but they came at the right time for my personal amorous advances. We had certainly planned this stay as soon as we got back from vacation in September, long before I knew and my lay-off, and the creation of my company. The schedule had evolved somewhat since I was going to have to go with my family, come back to work all week and return the following weekend to look for them. Annette could have gone alone with the children, but so I also enjoyed a few days of relaxation. My initially sincere motives had also been transformed, because I had promised myself to do the impossible to see Marie-Claude during this period.

At first I felt myself an enterprising and confident soul, but the more time passed, the more I realized my ignorance about her. I had not been attentive to Daniel's words, nor even to Annette's words a few days later; once again not to give her the awakening on my intentions, but many of my questions remained unanswered. Was she married? Was her husband at home? How old were her children and how many were they? If I would knocking on the door and one of them opened to me saying "I goo loook foor my dad y", what would I tell him???

The more the day and the time that I will was going knocking on this door approached and the more I found good reasons not to go there. I think many will understand me. The day arrived, however, and I was still in my anguishing reflections when, in the evening, I left my work to find her. Leaving Mantes la Jolie, whatever my route, I had to go through Evreux. So I returned to Evreux in the first time. Then, to have the opportunity to knock on her door, I then needed that I go to her village... All this not being too compromising, so I went there! When I arrived in the village it was already at least eight pm, the streets were deserted, so I went slowly, slowly. "Yes, it could be this house! No! Ah yes! This one, yes the small median strip, the recessed fence, yes but anyway, a twenty-four February at eight o'clock in the evening... You have got a nerve! Blimey! "The time of all these reflections, I had passed without having the courage to stop. All sheepishly, I turned back in the little wood behind, and the second passage, it was decided, I'll see, I improvise.

Oh dear! This gate, this path of stones that seemed to me not to finish, the door... Knock knock!

The door opened: PHEW! It was her. "Ah! It's you? "I was lucky, she had thought it was the Mayor who, given the family context, came to file documents.” What are you doing there?”  Two words, three words; I must have told her that I was alone, and that by "chance", as I had not eaten and had seen the light on, I had stopped saying good night. The door then opened wider: "Come in," she said to me, "I'm going to cook for you." PHEW! What sweat!

Marvel of wonders, she was alone, and her children were in bed. I ate no doubt, I do not remember, but we began to converse. It was already late, we had gone to the living room, both sitting on the couch, facing the door of communication, when slowly, but then very slowly, we saw the opening of this one. Also slowly, a little nose came forward, a sweet little face to the air little rascal appeared, it was Sabine who had been waked up. She was radiant; she really had a mischievous smile that we did not understand. She seemed happy, but happy! Without heeding our words, she closed the door also slowly that she had opened it, and we remained there until the next morning.

Sabine and Sebastian got up both very cheerful. They had, Sabine eight, and Sebastian six and a half. Sabine even more than Sebastian danced, clapping her hands and singing: "Mom is in love, mom is in love". This caused us a great astonishment on the moment, but also a long time later. Unable to understand, we accepted the situation as it was. Marie-Claude tried of course to limit them, but what more? They started doing again the following days, Marie-Claude did not know what behavior to adopt, although we laughed nevertheless a little. We received the explanation of their mouth two years later and we will talk about it in the second part, because there was already there, the whole key of the success of our meeting. I knew already many more things from her life. The difficulties that I evoked a few lines ago, of her former companion for example, but also the decision she had taken at that moment to live definitely alone with her children, even after a possible release of him. I knew she was a psychiatric nurse and quite like me had just built the house she lived in. It was not two children she had, but three, because Christophe, who was then fifteen, was a boarder in a high school in Caen.

We had talked more than half the night, and we had found so much in common, a common desire to manage life, that it seemed to us to live a dream. Of course, I did not deal with all my sexual disorders, but did they really matter to me at that moment, since my deep and real motivation was to live the perfect love?

Every night of the week, we met again, it was wonderful. We exchanged our opinions on so many subjects that now I could not tell you which ones were of the greatest importance. The last day of the week, however, arrived very quickly, and although we had slept very little, we had so much and so much conversed that we knew what to stand as for us. Neither one of us was accepting to live a relationship from day to day, at a discount, to find ourselves in secret in the lie. I was married and loved my two children. I did not want to be responsible for their misfortune and Marie-Claude even less than me. We will were not going see each other again!

It was our firm and irrevocable decision of the moment, but also fundamentally sincere on both sides. Contrary to previous situations, the question had the advantage of being asked in plain language: Living with another woman? Yes! To do the misfortune of my children and this of Annette I lived with? Not!

So I went up towards Moutiers on this night train to go and look for mine in Meribel. On the wavy seat of this "wagon eight," I was remembering all those wonderful days. I do not think I remember feeling sorry for my married life, thinking it should not have existed. No!

The separation had been very painful as long as I did not get up a train, but I was going towards my children, towards the ski. The page was turned, at least, I thought.

When I arrived in Moutiers, I was awaited. Annette had a strong tonsillitis, so she could not ski, but would stay warm at the apartment. Daniel and Gigi and other friends who skied very little were there, mom too, Annette would not be alone. So we went off to ski all three, Samuel, Igor and me. Needless to say how fast they went for me who was not in perfect physical freshness, but let's move on.

In the evening all the little group of friends reformed as an aperitif, and it was going to happen here, an extraordinary thing, a turning point in my life. Two of them were smoking, and I took the cigarette they offered me! What is so extraordinary, will you say me? Exactly so! But let's look back a little.

I had smoked three or four years, maybe more, at the time of my departure to the army and I smoked a lot then, until the day when I really become aware of my weakness and had stopped. Just as I had always fought under all circumstances so as not to be weak, so I had found myself at that time, in the obligation to be stronger than many, in order to not to be as weak as the majority. There was then ten or twelve years that I was no more smoking, except for a cigar here and there at the beginning of this stop, and again, on very special occasions. So I had the great presumption of being not only completely immune from tobacco, but more importantly to feel preserved forever of it. I had never liked drinking in the only motive to drink, and in recent years, at each site meeting I supervised in my work, rather than bringing a fairly traditional liter of Pastis to the fitting teams, I had taken used to offer them a good box of cigars. I had become very friendly with a chief fitter, who gave me back these few little attentions, by many very good wills. Moreover, during the weekly meeting meal, rather than standing aside when I was alone, I was joining me to them all. Our relationships were very good, and from time to time at the end of these meals I was taking a cigar from the box I brought them. It was yet another relationship of good friendship. They were offering me a cigarette each time, when they were taking one, but I was kindly always refusing it.

This banality had lasted until the day when, knowing us better and better, they had kindly allowed teasing me, in the style: "Yes, you want your big cigars of bourgeois, but not our little cigarettes of prole... ". It was obviously all that was most friendly, and I still have happy memories from this moment, but when they arrived at this point, I took one. The week after, I took two, then three. For to be not always smoked at their expense, I bought one pack… It was gone again!

Warned for years by Annette, that she would not tolerate the possibility that I smoke again, I cannot say why I took seriously this threat of separation more than another, but in order to preserve our situation and our children as much as I could do it then, I did not have the boldness to tell her the truth. Five long years had passed in this absurd context and so I was there then on this day of winter sport, at almost forty years old, with a social position more than enviable for many, to keep a childish secret situation by fear of the conflict that would go stir up a hornet's nest. Because of a stupid history of cigarettes, when so many other reasons would had been a hundred times more important for a majority, I was forced to smoke in secret, if I wanted to keep a hope of life common with my wife. It must be said that the smoky atmosphere of the offices often allowed me to hide the facts when, returning home in the evening, I had somewhat forgotten to bring me chewing gum to purify my breath. As for the weekends, let's not talk about it, I was very often eager to arrive at Monday to "can myself grill one", not to mention the holidays that were forcing me to remain in withdrawal for many long weeks.

We were always at this level on this winter sport evening, and this first aperitif with friends. The majority of them knew the situation very well and sometimes teased me with a cigarette that I refused if I was not alone with them. After the week that I had just spent with Marie-Claude, in this warm and friendly atmosphere of merry friends, I took a position, I accepted and taken a great delight the cigarette that one of them offered me. I did not do it by provocation, but it was like that, take-it-or-leave-it, as a natural position. We remained besides at this stage that evening.

The next day, Annette was not much better, her angina lingered a little. She was accepting to spend the day waiting for us, Samuel, Igor and me to please me, but it is true that she was not well at all and would have preferred to return immediately. I must admit that many in my place would have abandoned the idea of spending the day skiing, especially since a violent storm was raging and the keys of the apartment had to be returned in the morning. She had certainly reluctantly agreed to spend the afternoon in the restaurant room where we had lunch, but we did not leave until the Saturday night after the closing of the pistes as every year.

In the evening the wind was still blowing hard, but nothing to suggest in the descent of the twisting road, which a cyclone could arise at the exit of each turn. Arrived in the valley, we found ourselves in a slight traffic jam, once is not custom is not it, when suddenly the storm that rose and swelled for hours burst and the reproaches as usual fell. I say nothing about these reproaches themselves, for no doubt they were quite justified. I do not know if it was the fact that for once I defended myself very little that gave her more assurance than usual, but from the depths of her resentment came back from the dead the cigarette of the day before. Her accusations flew almost like this: "Yes, that's it, you think I'm blind! You started smoking again! Do you think I did not see you last night? Since it is this, tomorrow when I arrive in Evreux, I ask for a divorce! ".

That was too much, even far too much, she had often blackmailed the divorce, the runaway, the suicide, what do I know yet. I do not say that to accuse her, because I know how much she really suffered from our lack of harmony, but here it was: TOO MUCH! FAR TOO MUCH!

I unloaded the five years during which I had to hide myself like a schoolboy, perceiving in advance more than too much the fight that it would inevitably bring. I also promised her that she would not have the chance to ask for this divorce herself, because I would be the one to do it.

I do not know if on the moment she believed me, because I had often happened myself to employ these kinds of threats without executing them. Unlike other times, on Monday morning, when I returned to my office, I called Marie-Claude to her work and asked her permission to visit her to explain the new situation.

At that moment, the first foot of the first step of the great journey had begun to advance. Did we know it, in this moment? We did not really know it, but it was that evening that Marie-Claude really became for me my wife, that her children became mine for me, in the same way as my first two. It was that evening that we began to form a new family, and since that day both we have had five children. The foundations were far from solid, but a first stone was laid.

The first night was easy, I could be in trip business, as I say to Annette on the phone, but there was a tomorrow. I would have liked not to hurt my sons, who had already suffered so much from all discords. I would have liked to be able to keep them as before, but the common life with their mother was well and truly finished. I tried to reconcile the irreconcilable, to go home every other night... but what was my house? At home it was at Marie-Claude's, at the other house. I recognized of course the walls of my house, I came to see my children, my children that I loved, even if I did not know how to show them, nor fully live it, but I never came back to do anything other than that.

Oh ! I will not tell you that Annette's distress did not very often bring me an immense suffering, but I had abdicated. The page was really turned, I could not do anything more. It had taken me seventeen years to understand and capitulate to my good human will, which had only served to destroy what I wanted to build.

I lived then several months as well, as being caught between two stools. I spent a few nights a week in my former home, mainly at weekends, to be with Samuel and Igor. Once even, I went to meet them a few days in the Vosges, where they spent holidays with Annette and friends. But the problem was that, when I was with them, I felt guilty of neglecting Christophe, Sabine and Sebastian, as well as Marie-Claude, because even if I slept with Annette in these situations, only one was my wife, it was Marie-Claude.

It was only four to five months later, around the month of July, after another violent dispute with Annette, that I definitively brought my suitcase at Marie-Claude's. Once again, I had to capitulate to this desire to effectuate an amicably separating, in good human intelligence, facilitating each other's lives. I believe, however, that Annette was also open-minded to it, but as before and as always, when one acted to be pleasant to the other, the other always received it as being unpleasant. We actually wanted to build a good divorce, while it would have needed for this, to be able to build a good marriage. See in what heresy we were still making matters worse, wanting to be by our own, better than others. So we went into divorce proceedings, while with Marie-Claude we made official our union the most possible, by a declaration of marital life in the town hall. Although this did not represent much officially, it was nevertheless a great common position, especially since Marie-Claude had until then received allowances from single parents, who were already what it did the difference into our resources that were running out of steam too quickly.

According to my projected budget of this beginning of activity, everything was confirmed, not as being easy, but nevertheless as a playable thing. I had a fax and a telex installed in my office, I had renewed my old little Renault 5 company, and profited from all the necessary office equipment by means of the cessation of activity of a neighboring multinational. The overall context was therefore encouraging, but none of the safe potential business with which I had left the former company had been dealt with in the first few months of activity. Only one had been, and I had lost it, which already brought some rather difficult ends of the month. At the beginning of July, however, I got one on Aubenas, which brought us a few months of rest, and also allowed us to combine the useful with the pleasant a few weekends. We also keep from this period an unforgettable memory, of a famous canoe descent of the gorges of the Ardèche, but let's move on.

At the beginning of September, taking into account the circumstances and my advice, Samuel, who had not yet really chosen his path, considered alternately preparing a BEP dairy, and joined the small group that we formed. I was encouraged in this by his attitude to join our new family for several months already. Igor, meanwhile, with a more reserved natural, struggled a little to put things in perspective. He was then only thirteen years old and found himself much more vulnerable to his mother's slanders about us. The suffering blinded her and led her to do behind my back, the harm she could not do to me directly.

Between Marie-Claude and me, our first six months together, were perfect. We were getting to know each other and it was a little more harmonious each day. I was no longer seized with abnormal sexual desires, quite the contrary, and the work of Marie-Claude sometimes allowed her to follow me on the business trips, when friends of whom she did not miss, kept the children. It was great!

These friends were called Nathalie, Leone, Dominique. They were all young nurses or aspiring nurses, with whom we shared a lot of our hobbies. Provisionally, I thought then, I had stopped the auto-cross races. Our projects, or more precisely our aspirations, were from a different order. On our own or with friends, we often shared their experiences in the medical community, but also our past motivations. Just as I would have liked to make expeditions in the desert to dig wells, install pumps, finally to help the disadvantaged populations, Marie-Claude had been on the point of leaving with Médecin du Monde (Doctor of the World). The lack of opportunity had locked me in another life, as for her "the impediment" had come from the pregnancy of her eldest son Christophe.

In good friendly moments we sometimes delirious on these topics so dear to our hearts or the boyfriends of one or the other, sometimes still on the escapades of their patients. Psychiatry being the ideal environment where the staff is motivated to question itself on the patient and his reactions, it gave us many topics of conversation.

With Muriel, another nurse friend and Dominique, the first jokes, had been on the point to materialize by the creation of a retirement home. All this was a little new to me, but as since my childhood I had always liked to ask questions about any subject, so I was happy about all these new discoveries.

I reveal you all this a bit in bulk, but when it was not the delirium of sweet screwballs, it was sometimes Leone who read us the cards. It was not serious in our opinion, but however not completely innocuous... It's easy to fall into this kind of trap! We will talk about it again.

In November of this year, eighty-six, Marie-Claude fell ill and was hospitalized at the anti-cancer center of Rouen, as she had been eight or nine years before. She knew the place well to have been treated for a cancer start of the cervix. If we had been one or the other superstitious, then we would have thought that it was Annette's words that were fulfilled about her: "From one cancer, it is possible pulled through, but not from two, She had once day proclaimed me, like a threat, completely blinded by anger.

I cannot say if it was already the beginning of a new one, but it is true that it looked like more than strangely thereafter. For the moment the intervention was benign. She only stayed in hospital for a few days, but it was nevertheless a turning point for us, which would be going profoundly destabilize our couple.

Nothing really appeared firstly and shortly after her return at home, we welcomed for more than a month, a girl who was on the street: Odette. She was a tiny, frail person who was exactly two meters tall, for ninety to one hundred kilos. She had been child in care of Belgian public welfare services, and had known only community centers in her childhood. So it was a great experience for her to be to the contact with a real life of family. She often rendered us service in the sense that she thought it best to do it. I smiled a little, but it was very good, very sincere. She called Marie-Claude the "Méére", try to imagine, what it could give with that good "béélge" accent she had, and the physique of them both a little Laurel and Hardy. She had spent Christmas with us and we still sometimes enjoy watching the pictures of those happy times. We have indeed kept a good memory, despite a departure a bit rushed.

At that time, Christophe returned every week from college and let off steam on his drums. It was his first musical instrument, but it was not going to be the last. Sabine and Sebastian lived in the joy and recklessness of their youth. They only complained about one thing, cigarette smoke. We were all smoking like firefighters, and when Christophe's friends met to make Boom Boom on the drums in his room, not only could the little ones could no longer see the TV because of the smoke, but they could not even hear it. I'm joking of course about the noise and the smoke, but that to present the good family atmosphere that still reigned, with Samuel and Igor who were coming to join us more and more often.

In this end of the year, although still tired, Marie-Claude still had a radiant complexion. I do not say that in praise of my spouse's complexion, but because that was not going to last long. Challenged for my part, by her changes in attitudes to romantic relationships since several months, my nonsense was also soon to take over again.

As far as my enterprise was concerned, it was already the precipice. I made quotation on quotation, proposal on proposal, but nothing was negotiated. My colleagues were not better off than me, for nothing at that time was negotiated quickly. Any investment decision was always postponed. I had obtained a small order in December, but I also lost another one. There was certainly nothing to say about the results, because I had obtained a deal out of two, although on each of the projects no less ten companies were regularly consulted. However, I was lacking in financial base and when the total number of cases processed equals zero, half of zero is always zero. Then, my salary, like those of the team, also began to be equal to zero, especially as my shareholders, influenced by the statements of Annette did not want to follow me anymore.

The morale was not at the most beautiful, my misunderstanding towards Marie-Claude was increasing, in April eighty-seven, I fell back into some sexual bias. They were certainly not exactly the same nature as before, but would destabilize Marie-Claude over several years in my regard, so much the couple had been put a strain on.

If morale was not high, physical health was not there either. I had been suffering from osteoarthritis to the reeds since more than fifteen years and was not able to spread my legs more than about fifty centimeters, I was suffering more and more and the evil progressed from year to year. During the winter sports I often forced too much, and even if I remained all day on skis, I had to wear my left leg to get into the car when my joints had cooled down.

For her part Marie-Claude had begun to suffer from the eyes. After one thing there was another! A year or two earlier she had been treated for both retinal detachment and corneal ulceration, probably due to several aggravating factors of the moment. The ulcerations had restarted, and nothing or any medicine seemed to be able to take effect except temporarily. This had made one of the specialists she consulted, to say that the problem should be viral and that she should put up with, for the rest of her life.

We both had a few moments of respite to our sufferings by the prescription of homeopathic medicines, which brought us renewed hope. Not being able, however, to compare medicines with one another, and having since returned without problem to more classical prescriptions, I will not make any comment.

During this time my divorce was running and was also running the time allowed for the regularization of the agreements made to take over in my personal behalf, the detached house acquired under the community regime two years earlier. Also running, the repayment monthly, which, for the good salary I had previously, would had not been important, but for a salary equal to zero, were mathematically equal to plus or minus the infinite.

Indeed, even if several deals were about to come to fruition, none of them had been treated since several months. I borrowed a little from one, a little from the other. In those days I had two good size proposals that could not escape me and were in the last right line from their conclusion. If I had them both, not only did they bail me out, but they opened to me the doors of growth.

It was in this context that for the first time in years, a friend brought me question about God. I was going to say, it was very innocuous. The words may be so, but as to the acts, judge for yourself. I did not know that man very well on a personal level, but very well at the business level, since he was one of my suppliers. He owned a stainless steel valve factory in the Lyon region and when he realized that three other suppliers were going to sue me for unpaid, he proposed to pay me the invoice of the most demanding: It amounted to twenty-eight thousand francs. I informed him, however, of my fears about the uncertain future despite his efforts, but he answered me this word which is still in my heart: "If you do not repay it to me, God will repay it to me".

I know that he did not do it by personal interests, but by pure Christian charity, that God sure enough rewards him a hundredfold. Seven days later, I was summoned to the Versailles commercial Court. The cessation of activity was declared.

This was obviously not a surprise for me, but the next day, with the heavy heart, I began to store my equipment, when I probably received the last phone call before having the line cut permanently. That was one of those two customers whose project was about to conclude; They were putting me an order. I obviously could not accept it. We were in July 1987.

This project, which was treated with a pharmaceutical laboratory, focused on the production and distribution of ultra pure demineralized water. This customer had accepted my proposal, following the partnership I brought on the one hand, but mainly because of the confidence they gave to my project, the sterilization process having never been used in France in this kind of use. Everything happened a few seconds too late, but given their convictions to trust me, we found common ground. They were going to order from one of my partner companies, who would retrocede me various services as consulting engineer. No sooner said than done, the same day I declared myself in this position before the official organizations.

The things seemed to want to evolve with these new data, so we moved to my home in Evreux, more spacious than the house of Marie-Claude, but especially much closer to the city center and her work. Happily, summer had arrived, for her health was becoming increasingly precarious, and we thought that her August holidays would go to do her the greatest good. My worksite being located in the Lyon area, we tried then to join the useful to the pleasant by taking the whole family camping nearby to Lake of Paladru. If this opportunity was to be a great holiday for Sabine and Sebastian, it was unfortunately not the case for Marie-Claude who, lacking of resources, had to stay alone at the campsite six days a week to wait for our return.

I had actually for the circumstances, invited "graciously" Samuel and Christophe to come to help me to the electrical and pneumatic wiring that I had kept at my expense in addition to my standard services of study, supervision and commissioning. Christophe had just passed his BEPC (former school certificate of secondary education) and had missed it, as for Samuel who had pretended to register... He had missed it too. Guess the mistake. However, they both had some basic knowledge of electric wiring, Christophe because it was a bit of his obi after the drums, and Samuel, because he had been very well involved at the time of the construction of our house. It was for both of them, their real weapons in the industry and it was probably for them a brain wave, since a few years later they were both going to do an electro mechanic Adult Professional Formation internship.

Around that time, I stopped smoking a second time. On the one hand, I felt like a great numbness, like a great lassitude, that took me all the left shoulder every time I smoked, but above all there was the financial situation of which I felt guilty. Just like the first time, about fifteen years ago, I pretended to be strong, stopping smoking when I wanted to. I even added this time, the possibility of losing weight in parallel. I said it certainly as a joke, whereas it was lack of income, but deep in my heart, I suffered hugely of that.

Just like me, Marie-Claude tried to stop the tobacco. She felt the same kind of pain and was also looking for the same savings, but unlike me, despite all her good will and all her efforts, she could not. Every day, and often even several times a day, we saw her make the decision to stop. It was certainly not the desire that was missing her, but she could not. I will not say more for now, because we will have the opportunity to come back several times on this subject.

From month to month she became more yellow, like earth color. At the beginning of our union, her vitality, which was well above average, without being exaggerated like mine, had gradually, very gradually diminished. At twenty, she was nicknamed "Miss hundred-thousand volts" in the hospital, because it was the great years of Gilbert Bécaud. She had until then, always remained to this image, even the most difficult moments lived with her ex-companion, but here she was dragging her feet. She was worse off day by day, and occupational medicine began to worry about her on her workplace. She was pretty good during her hours of service, but from the threshold of the family home crossed, she had no more resources, no more any vitality.

The years had passed for me, since the age of thirteen or fourteen, when my parents had brought these "people", to thwart possible acts of witchcraft, but I cannot say that this interpretation of the facts then be completely sink into oblivion. There was no more than a dozen years that Papa had died, while I still held my grandmother responsible for her death by acts of witchcraft. I was certain, however, that this kind of evil could be overcome by the only strength of character. Only here, too much is too much, and all obstinacy has its own limits. Mine was dwindling from day by day.

I do not tell you that I sank then into depression. No! On the contrary, because I had always the firm intention to bring, to each one, brighter future! I continued to fight, but as for supernatural forces, it was beginning to form a big question mark in my mind. This subject, however, remained more than unapproachable with Marie-Claude, because for her part she considered it as frenzied.

She remembered, of course, that in the first days of her entry into psychiatry, she had received from a good priest, probably the hospital chaplain, a unique teaching on exorcism. This first contact then gave way to so many opposite demonstrations, that the justification of the thesis, was quickly demolished by the daily antithesis lived during the following twenty-two years. Between her, for whom the evil was therefore only the flight, adultery, murder, and I pass, but for whom the words of witchcraft, magic, spiritualism, were only mystical delusions, and I who wanted to believe it, but considered me to be sheltered by my own Strength of character; For her to whom her own grandmother had learned that to pray was to speak to Jesus, as she had secretly taught her children, and I who still refused the very existence of God and accepted Jesus only as an extraterrestrial, how had us could find a common outcome?

Her behavioral changes were going to begin however, to bring us closer to each other. I am not talking about the broad lines that could have been linked to all the financial difficulties or other unfortunate circumstances that we were living. No, it was to the contrary of a whole of small details of behavior that did not exist in her previously and that I saw every day appear imperturbably. Nor was it a transformation of fundamental appearances; no, but located in all the little details that I had been able to reproach to Annette in the past or even just find it unpleasant in her.

They were small trifles for which she was not responsible, but I began to find them more and more in Marie-Claude. I will not, of course, detail you these various minor, benign behaviors, but it was for example that Annette sweated from hands, Marie-Claude for whom this had never been the case, was faced with the same problem. We could certainly explain this by anxiety, but the feet, the twitches of the fingers when we held hands together... I had more and more surprising impression, that Marie-Claude became Annette.

As I had often done for Annette, I obviously began to question Marie-Claude, especially with regard to the twitch of her hands. I thought she could at least avoid that ... Just like Annette; she was convinced she did not do it. Against that, what more could I do? I became powerless, we both became helpless. Around May or June, eighty-seven before the summer holidays, associating her health problems with her nervous reactions, we had already gone to see a magnetizer. The magnetism was well in my "wavelengths" if I may say so, but by September, our conclusions increasingly closer to one another, we addressed to a person from the region of Le Mans, whom we had been taught as being very effective.

She was young for this kind of experience, about twenty-six, twenty-eight years old, she was pregnant. After two or three sessions, she informed us of her concerns and abilities about us. She tells us she has too many manifestations when she "acted" for us, that "it was" too strong for her. She even entrusted us that she had a miscarriage, because she thought that what dominated over us and against which she was fighting. She therefore declined her services to us, but gave us two addresses. It was for one of them a good old country priest who we went to see immediately because his services were free, while for the second, we had to make an appointment with a "Monsignor" supposedly unstoppable in Paris, and whose remuneration was relatively high for a budget such as ours.

This budget was unfortunately systematically negative with our only current income, that is to say the salary of Marie-Claude. The only fixed payments of our two pavilions represented for them alone an amount greater than this one. It was necessary to add to our expenses, the food of six and often seven because Igor, to our great joy, then joined us often, plus the current expenses of a household such as electricity, water, insurance, taxes... So, no need to tell you how quickly our deficit could increase. I received quite a lot of emoluments from work with the pharmaceutical laboratory, but they were so quickly swallowed up in the overdue of society by all the ushers who were running after us, that they represented hardly more than a drop of water in an ocean.

However, we had to turn the tide if we wanted to go back in the right direction, so even if we had to pay a lot, we thought have needed a powerful person.

For my part, I had not been convinced of the efficacy of the prayer of the good old priest that we had gone to see, as to Marie-Claude I cannot tell you because it all seemed her always so delusional, than the topic remained without response. It must be said that the prayer of this one had left me a vague interrogation, which I did not know then to define, but which brought me an impression of derisory. He had gone to fetch it in a book, no doubt a missal, and had called it, it seems to me, the prayer of exorcism. Until then nothing too abnormal, but now that I think about it, he must had made it, only in the name of Jesus. Some of you may be able to check it out, but you will probably understand why I was not convinced, since for me Jesus could have been at best, only an extraterrestrial.

Some time passed and as the situation did not evolve, we made an appointment with this "Monsignor". While waiting for this meeting, I still did not fall into apathy, because even if the morale was slightly reached, I had more than ever the firm intention to hold one's head high. I had perhaps hopeful because of this future "release from a spell", but above all for another more concrete project. The company that had bought me the site work supervision that we just mentioned was quite large and had several subsidiaries around the world. I sometimes met the CEO who had expressed the possibility of an opportunity to join our efforts. In Venezuela, he had a subsidiary that was in need of finding new openings of market, following the collapse of the oil price and the devaluation of the Bolivar that had followed. This subsidiary did not want to take over the structure of an agro-food service, but he himself gave me one's backing to settle me in their premises and to have both secretarial and technical staff, which I would need. No need to tell you that we were all delighted and despite the weakness of Marie-Claude which was growing from day to day, it was for her and for us all, a great resurgence of hope.

This opportunity was all the more unexpected that we had a Venezuelan friend Felipe, an assistant doctor at the hospital where Marie-Claude worked, who wanted since several months to take us to his home in Barquisimeto. With the last term of settlement of the site work, always the same, we booked in charter, two places on a flight departing for Caracas in early January.

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