Say You'll Remember Me

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1. This is my whole story!

 

 

 

Say You’ll Remember Me

 

 

 

A Hetalia Fanfiction by: Lillian J. Hughes

 

 

 

 

~France~

I always enjoy walking down the boulevards of springtime Loire Valley. It is one of my favorite parts of my country. The atmosphere is just lovely, what with the tiny pockets of historical towns and invitingly expansive vineyards. Today I observe another quaint brick-worked town, my hand grazing soft blossoms that stubbornly grow between the cracks in the stone streets. When I reach the town square I see a small crowd. As I inch forward to see what is going on, a gap appears in the throng and I see her: a young mademoiselle, her brown hair the color of autumn leaves and wearing a simple, sleeveless knee-length sundress. She is sketching on a large drawing pad with a pencil. A young boy sits beside her on a bench, eagerly talking to her. I get close enough to hear some of their one-sided conversation, “And I have a freckle underneath my left ear.” He’s describing himself to her, and I notice that she hasn’t looked up at her subject even once. After another few minutes the lass reveals her portrait to the boy and crowd. Being a part of the collective gasp, I see that the artist has captured the likeness of the boy exactly, the striking pencil lines on the paper making the drawing come to life. Each curve and grove in the child’s face was expertly drawn, each and every freckle, crinkle, and eyelash marked. The area fills with applause, shocking me with its volume. She hands the boy his picture, and with a grin he thanks her with a kiss on the cheek before running off. The artist now holds up one finger, making whispers break out on how the girl will only draw one more time today. Now I’m being jostled as people try to push to the front, wanting their portraits done by the mademoiselle. She stands up, eyes closed, and points aimlessly into the mob. It takes me a second to realize that she has randomly chosen me to be her next subject. Accompanied by quiet groans I sit on the bench beside the girl. She holds up her pencil and pauses. After a minute of just waiting she looks up at me expectantly. Then it hits me: this girl is completely blind, both of her eyes telltale ice-blue. She’s been waiting for me to describe myself, to offer her information in order to draw. So with this revelation I talk about my looks, which is easy for me. Halfway through her left hand shoots to my chin, rubbing it without saying a word. This happens a couple more times; her feeling other parts of my face suddenly and without permission. Finally done forty minutes later, she reveals my shoulder-up portrait. Like the boy’s, this is an exquisite work of art. Everything is perfect, from the soft waviness of my hair to the handsome, but not overpowering angles of my cheekbones. I’m completely speechless, now understanding why the applause was so loud earlier. This girl is not a spectacular artist, but a blind spectacular artist. Not knowing what her muse looks like, and yet being able to create such perfection on paper is unheard of. After handing her sketch over to me, she collects her things and confidently walks barefoot up the sloped street that I had descended an hour before, without assistance from a cane or another person. I linger in the town for another week, hoping to meet the mysterious girl again, but without avail. Then on the journey back to Pari, I see her running through a vineyard bordering the town. She has a smock dotted with sunflowers on over an ankle-length white dress. The joy on her face is clearly evident, while the last time we met she had only cracked a slight smile when handing me my portrait. I approach her breathless figure slowly in order to not frighten her. But her head whips in my direction when I step on a twig. Instantly her joyous expression turns into a guarded one. “Who’s there?” Her tone is unsettled but not lacking confidence. To begin I say, “Bonjour fair lady, my name is France. I was one of your drawing subjects, about last week? Anyway I’ve been meaning to talk with you about your talent.” Tilting her head, she motions me toward her. When I get close enough she grabs my face. Realization dawns on her face as she runs her graphite-smudged fingers over my lips. Pointing to a large brick house in the distance, she starts walking to it. Following her through the vineyard is harder than I thought, her long strides arguing with her five-foot tall height. At times all I can see through the leafy vines is her waist-length brown hair. Finally we reach her home and enter to find a cozy interior. I keep following her into a rustic kitchen, complete with wooden furniture and an old fashioned cooking furnace. Throwing a log into the fiery belly of the oven, she puts on a pot of tea inside of it. Again she motions for me to take a seat, and when we’re comfortable she at last says, “What do want to know about my art?” Her question startles me out of staring into her sightless eyes. “First,” I reply, “I want to know your name.” At this she smirks, stating “Why should I reveal my identity when I hardly know you or your intentions, much less have a logical reason to give you this personal information?” Oh, I like her. If she wants to play mind games, then so be it. I argue with, “You did invite me into your home, where I can do just about anything and you wouldn’t be able to stop me. That shows you trust a total stranger like me.” Suddenly I’m pinned to the ground, unable to move as the girl uses my surprise against me. Inches from my face, her once innocent manor dissolves into a threatening one. “Don’t think for a second that my blindness makes me weak. I can sense everything in the room, from the crackling of the fire to the smell of your cologne, even hear every breath you take. I might be without my eyes, but my other heightened senses can determine where anything is. And,” she adds with a chuckle, “if you were to do something harmful, I would be able to stop you in seconds. Just. Like. This.” Her threatening tone sends a shiver through my body, and with that she lets up on me and sits down, calm as ever. I’m saved from saying anything when an elderly woman enters the kitchen, muttering to herself. She notices us and says with a withered voice, “Who is this Giselle?” Inside I smirk, finally scoring a point against this infuriating lass; from the look she’s giving me, she knows it too. “Grandma,” Giselle says, “this is my good friend France. I met him a while back in town, maybe four months ago.” She silences any protests from me with another look. I just play along and say, “Yes Madame, I’ve been wanting to meet Giselle’s esteemed family, since we’ve been friends for so long.” I receive a giggle in return for kissing the adorable senior’s hand. Giselle’s grandmother then says, “Well, if you want to meet the rest of them, you’ll have to wait until harvest when they come to work in my vineyards. Oh and you can just call me Grandma Sophie.” Whisking her purple shawl along, she leaves the two of us alone, and when the quiet is too much to bear I say, “I’ve never heard of an artist quite like you. I’ve met a deaf painter once but that’s about it.” I’ve never seen a better poker face either, but I refrain from telling her that. “Well,” she says after an eternity, “I wasn’t born visionless. Five years ago a rare cancer stole my sight forever from me. Before that, I had a great potential career as an artist, but when my parents payed for the cancer’s removal they weren’t able to afford art college. Besides,” she says with a sharp laugh, “who am I kidding, being a blind artist.” I’ve heard enough of this rubbish. I grasp Giselle’s hand as fast as she had grabbed my face before. While she is startled, I say, “How can you think that? Only a tasteless idiot would say such things about you.” I draw close to her. “And your gift is more enchanting than anything I’ve ever seen.” Thank goodness Grandma Sophie shouted at her soap opera in the other room, or I don’t think I could’ve kept myself from what would’ve happened next. The setting sun filters through the window, displaying how late in the day it is. As I open the front door to leave, Giselle follows me. With venomous intent she informs me, “And I don’t think of you as a friend. Grandma just doesn’t approve of me hanging out with strangers,” and after one-overing me ends with, “and for good reason.” Heavens, does this infuriating teenager ever let up on the insults? Grandma Sophie suddenly appears behind Giselle to say, “You’re leaving already? Why don’t you come back tomorrow for lunch with us?” I glance at Giselle. As if she could my see my asking expression, she answers for me. “That would be wonderful.” It sounds forced, but Grandma Sophie doesn’t notice. Two more weeks pass and I visit their humble home for various meals throughout. I certainly enjoy them with Grandma Sophie, but Giselle is always as prickly as a thorn. Sadly, I just know she hates me.

~Giselle~

I hear the crunching of leafs as someone approaches. I try to run, but it’s too late: whoever’s there has already seen me crying. “What is the matter?” Oh no, why did it have to be him? I can’t keep getting France involved with my problems. I stand up but then realize he’s right in front of me. Exasperated I say, “What do you want with me now?” He replies with conviction, “I want to know who had the indecency to make you cry, so that I can go and set them straight.” I give a sigh of frustration, and because he’ll keep bothering me until I answer him, I cut to the point. “It’s my parents. They’ve been hoping for me to have an arranged marriage since I don’t have any hope of getting a job as a blind woman.” In fact, that’s why I suspected they sent me to live with Grandma: to have a dowry in grapes. I’m so sick and tired of others deciding where my life goes, but I don’t really have a choice in my future anymore. I should be thankful that my parents payed the exuberant hospital fees so that the cancer wouldn’t have taken more than my sight; and yet, I still cannot deny what I believe is a better life for me. As these thoughts race through my mind, France grabs my hand and pulls me to follow him somewhere. When I hear the groaning noises of a gate, I know he’s taking me into the house. I try to protest, but stubborn as a mule he drags me along like an actual mule. We finally stop on the back patio. I criticize him for treating a lady in such a manner. He just accepts these angry words, puts a record on the old phonograph kept on a bench out here, and gently takes my hands. As the music starts he starts to sway in time, I manage to stutter, “I can’t dance France, really. A blind person just can’t dance. Besides,” I say with a last ditch effort as I realize he’s not stopping, “the last time I did something like this, it was with my dad when I was ten.” Even though he knows I won’t be able see him, he brings his fingers to my face, lifting it up so that I would look into his eyes if I could. “Giselle,” France states in a deadly serious voice, “you think that your blindness is limiting what you can do, when the only thing that’s holding you back is yourself.” I have no words to reply, and he continues. “This is the reason I was put into your life: to show you that nothing is impossible with having a disability, it only means that you have to think about the world a little differently.” I hear him bend over, lifting up each of my feet to rest on his. Again he grasps my hands, and with the 50’s slow dancing music rolling around on the record player, we dance. At one point I smell the finished supper and sense the presence of my grandmother, but she doesn’t stop us. In fact, she puts another song on as the first one ends. Without protest France and I waltz, with my feet on his like those of a toddler and her father. Leading me in this manner, I was able to dance for the first time since my cancer operation. After we finish yet another record, Grandma beckons us into the kitchen for homemade stew, fresh salad, and fine wine. The next morning, Grandma asks me to dress nicely for a guest that will visit at noon. Still in a comfortable daze from last night, I subconsciously run a brush that’s always on my dresser through my hair and feel for the silk blue-bonnet blue gown in my closet. I slip on a pair of sandals for good measure. It would be a joke to try putting on make-up by myself, so I don’t even own any cosmetics. I hear Grandma call for me, and when I reach the sitting room I hear a shuffle. I predict another man in the room, so this must be the guest. Excusing herself to get the tea, Grandma leaves us to ourselves. Like any good hostess, I ask him to seat himself and do the same once the chair by the fireplace squeaks. He says his name is Kristof. Question after question, he and I learn more about each other. Twenty minutes later Grandma is still absent, and then it hits me: this is the prospective husband that my parents have arranged for me. From our conversation, Kristof seems like everything that a girl could hope for: manners, humor, respect, and a gentlemanly demeanor. I could eventually learn to love him, I think as he makes me laugh with a hilariously odd story about a chicken parade. Finally he reaches the big one. “Giselle,” he asks with polite curiosity, “is my assumption that you are perfectly blind correct?” I nod. Then the glass door to the room slams open, and enters none other than France. By now I have memorized his scent. It’s actually quite pleasant… but that thought is interrupted by chocking sounds. My hands go to my throat automatically, but I’m not the one being strangled; it’s Kristof. “STOP IT!” I yell. I just knew France would get jealous of my situation and come to take away every opportunity of moving on from the past. I have already accepted my fate, so why can’t he respect my decision? I hear France let go of Kristof’s neck, Kristof run from the house while slamming the front door behind him, and my confused grandmother standing by the entrance wondering what happened. A footstep and France is right next to me. “Before you get the wrong idea, I need you to know that what I did was to protect you.” France continues with a sigh, “You weren’t able to see his expression when you confirmed your blindness. That man’s face displayed nothing but lust, wanting to take advantage of your womanhood the moment you two were alone. You would have been helpless.” I was ready to be so angry with France, and yet with this he has completely turned my previous thoughts inside-out. He wasn’t acting out of jealous rage; he was protecting me from a deceiving jerk. I feel for France and sob into his chest. He just holds me as I cry small gasps of fear and relief. Once again raising my face to look at his with unseeing eyes, he says, “Promise me you’ll be more careful Giselle.” Apparently a nod of my head is not enough. With more intensity he repeats, “Promise me.” And I whisper to my friend, “I promise.” For the past month, I’ve met six other potential husbands. Most were kind, but just not right. Two more “Kristof Instances” took place, and with each one France escorted them off the premises with a controlled amount of force. That irritatingly loyal friend of mine was with me all the way, picking up discouraging signs that I literally couldn’t see; though I think he just doesn’t want me to marry, the possessive fool. Without knowing it, France and I have developed a sibling relationship while running in-between the rows of unripe grapes and teasing each other with games of marco-polo. It may seem silly, but I think France is trying to get back some of my hospital-spent stolen childhood; or he could just be a clueless idiot. My pride leans toward the second reason, but further moments (like him figuring out that if I placed a piece of cloth to touch at certain intervals, I can navigate the once confusing wine cellar), the well of France’s genius simple fixes have been instrumental to my recent happiness. I’m strolling down the town’s boulevard, humming my favorite song from our vinyl selection, having danced to it with France an hour before. Grandma doesn’t mind me wandering the town alone, all because I know every inch of it and trust every resident here. From the amount of warmth radiating from the stone streets, I guess the sun is setting. As I walk back home, I feebly try to imagine the bright star making the stones glow orange; but it’s been too long since I’ve seen such a sight, and I give up. I suddenly feel a rough hand grasp my wrist, and I twist in the direction of my attacker. I am sure the action meant harm, and my fears are confirmed when I’m thrown to the ground. My heads hits the road, hard. Fuzziness clouds my mind, making it painful to think or move. But there is a worse pain in store for me as my assailant presses himself against me, and struggling is useless. Words are lost on me as shock enables me defenseless. The world turns bright white and there is nothing but immeasurable pain.

 

~France~

            When Giselle did not return from her walk by dinnertime, Grandma Sophie sent me to fetch her. “She’s probably held up talking to an art fan of hers,” the elderly woman had said with a chuckle. But as I frantically search the area for an hour, I worry it’s more serious than that. I round a tight corner and glance into an alleyway. OH GOD, NO. The stones are covered in blood, with Giselle in the center of the horrid red pool. I sprint to her side, only to find that she is unresponsive. Cradling her head in my arms, despair fills my every fiber, my mind comprehending the inevitable. A weak breath raises her tiny ribcage, and I stop panicking about Giselle being dead. Anger replaces my despair as I realize where her true injuries are. As if carrying the most delicate and expensive of china sets, I take Giselle home. By now, her sexual assaulter would be long gone, probably a loner not known among the townspeople. Not wanting to upset Grandma Sophie, I enter with my precious cargo through the back porch door. I sneak past the dining room and up to Giselle’s bedroom on the second floor. After laying her on the bed, I again creep around the dining room to fetch the house’s first-aid kit. I return to the bedroom to find Giselle sitting up, a blank expression on her face. As gently as possible, I treat her injuries and change Giselle into one of her simple white sundresses. When finished, I sit beside the broken teenager. At last she shows emotion by resting her head on my arm, silent tears wetting my shirt sleeve. I leave her resting, soft sobs cutting through her defense of unresponsiveness to the disgusting pain. Assuring Grandma Sophie that Giselle’s “migraine” would not need attention, I eat my dinner quickly. Normally Grandma Sophie’s meals brighten my mood with their homemade goodness. Tonight, I might have just been chewing on cardboard. Everything in my world has changed now that Giselle has experienced such a humiliating torture. The air feels thick and warm, like tomato soup that sits too long on the stove and then cools into nauseating paste. Even the lighting in the house is sickening, giving the walls a greyish tint. I hope by now she might have fallen into a deep, merciful sleep; but Giselle is curled into a tight ball, wide awake. With a squeak I sit on the bed, holding her trembling form. Finally, when she calms down, she fixes her ice-blue eyes on mine, and reaches to touch my face. But I pull back, and I don’t want to hurt her, but I still have been resisting true female affection ever since… as a single tear slides off my chin Giselle’s shaking hand wipes it away, somehow sensing my pain. Another squeak, and the slim body of the lass I have come to adore crosses the room to a corner filled with art supplies. Giselle stares at me dead on, a pencil in her left hand and a giant drawing pad in the other. “Describe her.” Not even questioning how she could possibly know, I define the innate features of the ghost holding me down. And not just from Giselle, but from letting anyone in on how I truly feel, covering my scars with smiling taunts and flattering words. Yet this girl has divulged the wound no one else could see. Hands finally steady, she finishes her art, and without a word turns the pad towards me to critique. Suddenly, the shell around my heart I’ve so carefully crafted and preserved over the centuries, shatters in an instant. Without a hint of jealousy, Giselle asks softly, “Who was she?” “Jeanne,” I reply, having no shield left to hide behind, “Though you may know her as the Joan of Arc.” I can’t read Giselle’s expression, but then she says, “Before my cancer, I visited a museum with a painting of her once. But I believe the artists did not do her beauty justice.” Barely audible, I whisper, “No, no they didn’t.” Not being able to stand it any longer, I whip Jeanne’s depicture from Giselle’s gentle grasp and place it against the far wall of the room, turning it away so I could feebly try to ignore the weight of its emotional torture. For the first time since the day of her death, I cried for Jeanne. I cried for our tragic love; but most of all I cried for the guilt of just standing there, too late to help, too late to save my darling Jeanne. Though all of this retribution for my crimes, Giselle strokes my golden hair with tender fingers, never ceasing to comfort me with soft sighs. When I show no signs of relinquishing my agony, she storms over to the stunningly realistic portrait. Giselle picks it up, sits back on the bed, and hands me the paper. Before anything can be said on my part, she states with purpose, “Moving on doesn’t mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happened and continue living.” This advice effectively shuts me up, and in this moment I feel a relief, a freedom more precious than gold. Just to make sure we both are all right, Giselle lays her delicate frame next to me as I hold onto her, falling asleep from emotional exhaustion together.

 

~Giselle~

The morning sun’s harsh rays stun me awake. Sitting up, I sense someone holding me tight: a man. I jerk away before I realize it’s just France, his masculine jasmine cologne (how jasmine can smell manly, I haven’t the foggiest idea) tickling my nose. I feel a soft hand grasp my own. Oh no, he’s awake now. I want to avoid any awkwardness between us, knowing fully well why ‘we’ cannot be. But resistance is futile as France pulls me close. He then whispers in my ear, “Truly, madly, deeply I am foolishly, completely fallen. And somehow you kicked all my walls in; so baby say you’ll always keep me truly, madly, crazy, deeply in love, with you.” My silent shock at his confession goes unnoticed as he slumps back into a peaceful sleep. I put my hands to my cheeks, the heat behind them assuring me they’re blushing furiously. I rush around the room trying to busy myself, trying and failing to keep my mind off of what I clearly couldn’t keep my mind off of. France rises twenty minutes later to get ready. I hear his movements are slow, almost remorseful. With a shaky breath he says, “I need to leave for America because of an important meeting… and I likely won’t be back for a while.” Now I realize: I’ll never hear from France again. For the most unreasonable notion, a hole drills into my heart. And it hurts. “But,” his tone achingly hopeful, “you could come with me.” The thought of this gives me a splitting headache. With what money? Not to mention, I don’t even speak English! “Giselle?” It is my name, yet the tenderness in which the way he spoke it makes me give in to the tiny hope of ‘we.’ I turn toward his smell and say, “I’ll accept your offer IF: you pay for everything, be my translator, and convince Grandmother.” I snort. “And good luck with that last one.” Three boot scuffles and he’s out the door, moving downstairs to confront Grandmother. Twelve hours later, I arrive at New York City Airports. I still could not believe that France convinced Grandmother to let me go on this trip. But I suddenly can feel nothing but terror as the noise of New York hits me full blast. I can’t keep my legs from shaking at the VOLUME of sounds, smells, and unfamiliar touches of figures bumping into me. I have never felt so helpless, so lost, so blind. France puts a protect arm around my shoulders and guides me through the overwhelming crowds. He has to end up carrying both of our suitcases, for I am paralyzed by fear, only moving because of France’s support. During our walk I catch conversations in English, Chinese, French, and even Taiwanese flying through the air. We finally reach the hotel, and I immediately collapse onto the couch. After putting away our things, France gently lifts me to the bed and pulls the covers up to my chin. He leaves a room key on the bedside table, dims the lights, and leaves the room to order our 2:00 AM dinner. It’s a good thing this is the city that never sleeps.

 

~France~

In order to reach it on time, I bring a reluctant Giselle onto a subway train to the conference. As the train car starts with a jolt, Giselle gives a small squeak of alarm and bumps into my chest. How could I be so stupid? I hold her tight until the ride is over, the tiny shivering girl burying her face into my shirt. With more courage than she currently possesses, Giselle recovers somewhat and follows me out into the chaos of the city streets. We reach City Hall breathless but still in one piece. The meeting went more or less okay. Everyone was immediately infatuated with Giselle, even though she couldn’t understand a word of English. Introductions and short stories had stolen an hour of our time, so by then the polite young miss excused herself to a corner to wait out the meeting. Before we left, Giselle had me translate to Italy the admiration she had for his artwork, having been to one of the pasta loving freak’s art museums prior to her blindness. Italy in return exclaimed his love for Giselle’s portraits (everyone naturally had one done for them) and then Giselle returned the compliment… this went on for another two hours. Needless to say I was at my wits end, but it wasn’t the fact that the subject was monotonous. It was how Giselle was paying so much attention to Italy, and I didn’t like it one bit. Now we are resting outside a small café, sipping tea while watching others go about their business in the park beside us. Well, I’m the one doing the actual watching. Giselle doesn’t seem to mind the silence though, and for the first time on the trip her face is pleasantly relaxed. I start to say something, but as always my doubts hold me back. “What’s on your mind France?” Giselle must have heard my intake of breath. No use putting this off. “Darling,” I say after some hesitation. “Yes?” She prompts me while leaning in, her silky straight hair sliding forward. I look at her and cannot let this go. “What would you think if I told this: I will pay for a surgery to have your eyesight restored?” With a sharp intake of breath, Giselle falls back in her seat, staring into the unrelenting nothingness of her eyesight. “I wouldn’t know,” she replies neutrally, that familiar poker face appearing again. “I know you must think this absurd, but I need time to contemplate this.” After another pause she whispers, “And I’m scared.” I embrace her tiny frame as a sob shakes her body. Again, I am ridiculously stupid. But the words are already out in the open, and try as I might, I cannot shove them back inside my brain.

 

~Giselle~

Even the roar of the thunderstorm cannot drown out the ever-present city racket. As an especially irritating car horn sounds, I sit up from the chair I dozed off in. Groggily, I hear a maid complain in the hallway, cursing the earliness of getting up at 4 AM. If someone asked, I would say I love New York and all of its wonders, but it’s moments like these that make me yearn for the tranquility of Loire Valley. I hear a shift of covers and guess France is in a deep sleep, despite all the ruckus. Suddenly, a flashback comes to me, one of France the morning of our departure. I can still recall his exact words of devotion, and even though he was half asleep I believe his confession to be true. I bump into the bedframe and slip in beside him, take a deep breath of courage, and jostle him awake. “France,” I hoarsely whisper. “Mmmmm?” was his response. “My answer to your question is yes.” This slaps him fully conscious, his reassuring arms around me, breathing softly “Are you sure?” into my ear. I nod my head deeply, finally releasing the weight that’s been my chest all afternoon. I realize right now that the only thing that was holding me back was not fear, but trust. By giving the care of my eyesight over to this person, I must fully trust France, without a trace of doubt. And I do.

 

~France~

I’ve been pacing these hideous tile floors for the past six hours, not granting my feet a break throughout my anxious waiting. Then the nurse opens the door, granting me permission to see Giselle. I barely acknowledge her as I fly into the room. And there she is, sitting up in a hospital bed and greeting me with a broad smile to match her evergreen eyes.

 

~Giselle~

Before he came in, all I could look at is this face, my face. The fairy-like bone structure as foreign as the pair of deep green pupils staring back at me. But the strangest experience of all is when I not only hear the door open, but see it open as well. And there he stands, jaw dropped at my transformation. Grinning wider than I ever had before, I drink in his golden hair, fair features, and sapphire eyes flashing on the verge of tears. I’ve had my doubts, but France is more handsome than I imagined (with only his self-impression to go by). Not a word is said between us, and I grip his weird indigo cape-like coat while inhaling the sweet scent of France.

 

So much time passed since that momentous day, and in all of my 96 years I still remember every detail. A squawking goose rampages through my garden, interrupting my thoughts. Her constant temper tantrums always bring a smile to my face, even though Ellen does nothing but upset the other geese. I gather a lungful of air saturated with herbs and fresh vegetables, having retired ten years ago to this tiny cottage. My cousin Loui could not believe when I gave the family business of wine over to him, just to pursue art. But my very first professional piece, a drawing dedicated to the rolling hills of my home, redeemed more than enough money to last me a century. Of course I crafted more pieces, and by the end of my career I had three entire museums filled completely with the hopes, dreams, and snapshots of my life. Yes, it’s been a good life, and as Ellen nearly bites the head off poor Lily, I reach for my most favorite creation: the depiction of Joan the Ark. Although unchanged since its birth, I pull it from its frame to write this on the back: ‘All living things eventually die. It’s unavoidable. But as long as you remember, it will live on in your heart forever. Just as you have for Jeanne, say you’ll remember me.’ With a great sigh, I wonder how France will react to finding me dead in my rocking chair. Oh well, with these old bones there’s nothing I can do now. I only hope my love will reminisce about our relationship as I have. We never got married, or even had sex, but it was true love all the same. After twenty years it hit me that I aged while he being a country scarcely did. Though since meeting me, no other girl in the world has had the privilege to kiss him. Even though my skin had since turned wrinkled and my hair silver grey, France’s devotion to me never wavers. He usually stops by once a month to talk to me, always leaving with a passionate kiss. He is supposed to come today…………… and my mind goes blank. Grasping Jeanne in my hands I leave this world with one final sigh.             

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