M. Claude

Good evening. You should read this in the evening. I’m Marcel Claude. I have such a story to tell you. I’ll keep it short. It’s sad, but true. Aren’t all lives! The date was January 7, 1991. Recalling that date has never been difficult for me. It was the most significant day of my life. You see, I never again enjoyed freedom after that date. I’m in a cell now. It’s comfortable enough, but nothing like my old life at home with my wife and son. January 7, 1991. I’m obsessed with that date as one is obsessed with an addiction. It’s as much a part of me as my duodenum. I have a copy of Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary from the prison library. I read it most nights. Did you know that the microplus is a common type of cattle tick in Panama? It transmits Texas fever.

It is surreal not to hear oneself scream. Deafness is at its worst in the beginning. One fights it, and reality is only accepted after a severe torment.

I awoke abruptly on January 7, 1991. I could make out an early hour on the gilt clock on the night stand next to me. The hands were dull but visible. I sat up in bed. After staring blankly ahead for a matter of seconds, I could tell from the increased tension in the quilt over my legs that my wife Elisabeth, bless her soul, had shifted in her slumber. She pulled the covers toward her. It was her habit. I haven’t seen her since January 7, 1991. As I sat awake in bed, I realized the muteness of the surrounding midnight room was not an accustomed absence of sound. A weight of iron laconism fell upon me. You wouldn’t believe that a prisoner such as me uses words like laconism. But I used to be good with words.

There was something terrifyingly pure to the quiet on January 7, 1991. I imagined I was dreaming. When I awoke to the harrowing blackness of the night air in that cool bed chamber, a sense of surrealism enveloped my consciousness. It is surreal not to hear oneself scream. Deafness is its worst in the beginning. One fights it, and reality is only accepted after a severe torment. Going to bed a normal man and waking up deaf are unfortunate circumstances. But I should tell you about myself. I’m no one to you as yet. I really was someone then, and not just inmate number 910107. That is my number now. You probably do not have a number like me. I’m Marcel Claude. I told you that already. But it is a nice name.

On January 6, 1991, I led a happy contented life. No one would deny my professional success and acclaim and I enjoyed my pleasant domestic existence as much as any man at his dinner table. I had carved out an agreeable little piece of the universe for myself and family. It’s a big universe and I was happy to have my corner of it. I was thirty-one on January 6, 1991. I was married to Elisabeth, and we had one child, Marcel Jr. Marcel Jr. was the joy of Elisabeth’s life. I liked him too, but he ate too much food. He was two years old on January 6, 1991. That would have meant he was born in 1989. It is not easy in this cell. For work, I wrote. I was a journalist with a major metropolitan newspaper. It hardly matters which one. It was Le Monde. We lived in St. Germain.

Writing allowed me a certain liberality with my schedule. Elisabeth worked a regular nine-to-five, which was more often an eight-to-seven at a law firm. She was a lawyer. I never learned what kind of law she practiced. But you see, Elisabeth and I never bored ourselves with her work. We would talk often of mine. I know we talked about my work on January 6, 1991. January 6, 1991 was an ordinary day. January 7, 1991 was a terrestrial hell. I’ve gotten over it by now. I nearly forgot: we had a dog in those days. It was a Jack Russell terrier named Snyder. I didn’t care for it much. Elisabeth liked dogs. I was never violent. Elisabeth would have told you the same thing. I read a newspaper article in Le Monde that followed my trial in which she called me violent. She was staunchly opposed to my appeal, and even hired an amicus lawyer to fight it.

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 View All

Printed from Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com

Permalink URL: http://www.cerisepress.com/03/09/m-claude

Page 1 of 5 was printed. Select View All pagination to print all pages.