Bonjour Tristesse

Free Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

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Authors: Françoise Sagan
and even my father showed annoyance, but in the end it was Anne who locked me up in my room, although she had not even raised her voice during the argument. I had no idea what she had done until I tried to leave the room to fetch a glass of water. I had never been locked up in my life, and at first I panicked. I rushed over to the window, but there was no escape that way. Then I threw myself against the door so violently that I bruised my shoulder. With my teeth clenched I tried to force the lock with a pair of tweezers, but I did not want to call anyone to open it. After that I stood still in the middle of the room and collected my thoughts, and gradually I became quite calm. It was my first experience of cruelty; the thought of it lay like a stone on my heart, until it formed the central point of my resistance. I sat on my bed and began to plan my revenge. Soon I was so engrossed that several times I went to the door, and was surprised to find that I could not get out.
    At six o'clock my father came to release me. I got up when he came in, and smiled at him. He looked at me in silence.
    "Do you want to talk to me?" he asked.
    "What about?" I said. "You know we both have a horror of explanations that lead nowhere."
    He seemed relieved: "But do try to be nicer to Anne, more patient."
    I was taken aback. Why should he expect me to be patient with Anne? I suddenly realised that he thought of Anne as a woman he was imposing on me, instead of the contrary. There was evidently still room for hope.
    "I was horrid," I said. "I'll apologise to her."
    "You're not unhappy, are you?"
    "Of course not!" I replied. "And anyhow if we quarrel too often, I shall just marry a little earlier, that's all!" I knew my words would strike home.
    "You mustn't look at it in that way, you're not Snow-White! Could you bear to leave me so soon? We should only have had two years together."
    The thought was as unbearable for me as for him. I could see myself crying on his shoulder, bewailing our lost happiness. I did not want to go too far.
    "I'm exaggerating, you know. With a few concessions on both sides, Anne and I will get on all right."
    "Yes," he said. "Of course!"
    He must have thought, as I did at that moment, that the concessions would probably not be mutual, but would be on my side only.
    "You see," I told him, "I realise very well that Anne is always right. Her life is really far more successful than ours, and has greater depth."
    He started to protest, but I went on:
    "In a month or two, I shall have completely assimilated Anne's ideas, and there won't be any more stupid arguments between us. It just needs patience."
    He was obviously startled. He was not only losing a boon companion, but a slice of his past as well.
    "Now don't exaggerate!" he said in a weak voice. "I know that the kind of life you have led with me was perhaps not suitable for your age, or mine either, for that matter, but it was neither dull nor unhappy. After all, we've never been bored or depressed during the last two years, have we? There's no need to be so drastic, just because Anne's conception of life is different."
    "On the contrary," I said firmly. "We'll have to go even further and give up our old way of life altogether!"
    "I suppose so," said my poor father as we went downstairs together.
    I made my apologies to Anne without the slightest embarrassment. She told me that I needn't have bothered; the heat must have been the cause of our dispute. I felt gay and indifferent.
    I met Cyril in the wood as arranged. I told him what to do next. He listened to me with a mixture of dread and admiration. Then he took me in his arms, but I could not stay, as it was getting late. I was surprised to find that I did not want to leave him. If he had been searching for some means of attaching me to himself, he had certainly found it. I kissed him passionately, I even longed to hurt him, so that he would not be able to forget me for a single moment all the evening, and dream of me all

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