We were packing our bags. There was nothing that they could say now. Now they were trying anything to make us stay. Like a lover who was trying to talk reason into you as you were throwing your clothes into a suitcase, they went from saying soothing, reconciliatory, sweet things to calling you a complete idiot and telling you that you'd regret it for a sure. Well it was too late for all that.— from The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, by Heather O'Neill.
We would go off on our own. We just wanted to speak French in peace. We wanted to whisper dirty things to our loved ones in French. There was a certain kind of love that could only be expressed in this way.
There was no difference between the expressions I like you and I love you in French. You could never declare love like that in English.
We loved in a self-destructive, over-the-top way. A way that was popular in sixties experimental theatre and certain Shakespeare plays. We loved like Napoleonic soldiers in Russia, penning beautiful letters while seated on the corpses of our dead horses. We were like drunk detectives who carried around tiny notebooks full of clues and fell for our suspects. We were crazy about the objects of our affection the way that ex-criminals in Pentecostal churches were crazy about Jesus. We went after people who didn't know we existed, like Captain Ahab did. We loved awkwardly and hopelessly, like a wolf ringing a doorbell while wearing a sheepskin coat that is way too small for him.
How could you explain that in a political platform? I wondered. I began to write a speech for Etienne. The only way that we would win the referendum would be if the speech-makes came out. Only poetry could win the vote.
Harkening back to the pre-referendum days of 1995.
Happy St. Jean-Baptiste Day, Quebec!