On the Move

You can probably imagine the turmoil my mind was in after what Thérèse and Guillaume had told me. On the one hand I couldn't believe it possible. True, I had long since suspected Violette of having no real feelings towards me. She was just playing pretend with me, even if she did come back to me again and again. That in itself was significant since she had not done that with any of her previous boyfriends. And it was the one thing that kept me believing in our relationship. But to actually betray me... I still wasn't sure whether or not it was true. Call me a sucker if you like but even now I still felt there had to be a rational explanation to all this. It took a prolonged absence with no word from Violette to convince me that our relationship was indeed leading up a dead-end.

Fortunately, things began moving so quickly with the espace loisirs that I had no time to sit and mope. And to think, if I'd been able to occupy myself in a similar way following my one and only previous relationship disaster then I might never have come to France and... But playing "what if" is for novelists and similar dreamers and it's not my style. I prefer to stick with the facts. Besides, before long a village meeting was called and the only subject on the table was the future of the espace loisirs. It was now becoming clearer and clearer that the centre could not continue without major outside help. Guillaume had taken up contact with various cultural organisations to see in what way they could help us. Most were not really interested in a small, backwater village near a major city but with two groups we struck lucky. The first wanted to set up a rival centre to the one in Besançon because the latter belonged to a rival federation. They were looking for revenge after losing this franchise. Signing up with them would draw us into a major battle in which we would be nothing but pawns on other people's chess board. The second group, however, was a different matter. They were more than interested in setting up a program in our area and their vision was to develop a centre providing access for a local, rural population to as wide a variety of cultural and educational activities as possible. They wanted to arrange a meeting with members of the town council and anyone else interested - hence our meeting. Getting the town council's support was seen as vital to the project, yet they were very much in Mayor Demille's hand and he, as we thought, could never be brought round to our way of thinking.

The meeting itself promised to be raucous as it was rumoured that the Mayor not only wanted to attend but also wanted to address the assembly. In the event he played a trump card none of us expected. Seeing the danger of his being outflanked, he apologised to the assembly for being forced to make a move he deeply regretted but which was beyond his control. Nonetheless, he would lend his personal support and the support of the town council to any people's initiative that may help put Gensdouce back on the cultural map. His speech was received with the silence, it deserved. But he was not finished yet. With typical, political understatement he announced:

"... In addition, I am recommending Mr. Simon Brighting for the job of administrator of this centre. It's true, we have not always seen eye to eye in the past, and I'm not sure that we always will in the future. But my future daughter-in-law has convinced me of this young man's abilities and his motivation has been quite discernible in all he has said and done this evening and throughout the past weeks and months."

It was not until I noticed Thérèse' raised eyebrows that I fully took in the bit about the "future daughter-in-law" but it didn't worry me unduly. I was already beginning to put Violette behind me. Besides, Violette had been engaged before, and I honestly couldn't see her marrying Gérard, however much Daddy wished for such a union. His announcement caused uproar in the assembly hall, however. Most of the old villagers considered it a cynical plot to sweep the carpet from under our feet. Some of the Mayor's staunchest supporters were taken aback by his sudden support for our camp and for me in particular and they remained tight-lipped. But most of those present welcomed the speech and shortly after a motion was proposed that we seek talks with the Federation of Youth and Cultural Associations with a view to reopening the "espace loisirs" under their auspices.

A four man delegation was proposed and unanimously accepted which included both Thérèse and myself, Guillaume having asked not to be included because of pressure of various other engagements. He would however be more than willing to support the delegation in an advisory capacity if needed.

The negotiations were not very protracted. The federation welcomed us with open arms. They couldn't do much financially other than promising to inform fellow members of our needs but they did put their vast experience in educational and cultural matters at our disposal and also invited us to participate in various open forums held throughout the year to stimulate thinking and improve activities in the various centres. The contract was signed and before we left we were presented with the new FYCA button, two clasped hands above the well-known slogan "Forwards Together".

Three weeks later a second village meeting elected myself to be the centre's new director. I would get the grand income of 4 800 FF per month, in keeping with the minimum wage of the time but enough to enable me to live, and guaranteed for one year by the federation and the regional arts council. After that first year, however, the centre would have to raise enough money to pay their director themselves.

Little did I know that this election meant my leaving Gensdouce for six months. And I've often asked myself since who did, in fact, know?


Your characters are quite engaging, and the piece is wewll composed. I really enjoyed this a great deal.

2 January 2008 at 18:04  

ahh, the story moves on...i patiently await the outcome of his soon departure...

2 January 2008 at 22:54  

It is getting even more interesting..

3 January 2008 at 14:24  

Betrayal is hard to deal with.

playing "what if" is for novelists and similar dreamers and it's not my style.

Love that line.

3 January 2008 at 17:21  

Newer Post Older Post Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds