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Author's Chapter Notes:
I needed to get this finished, and the obvious person to end with is Simone, although I cannot quite get the style right, it will have to do ! Apologies if my french or phrasing is incorrect. I hope it isn't too bad.

If anyone else has a character that they think would suit this idea, and want to write a letter to Therese, please feel free to add as a new chapter. I will make the story open if I can so that is possible.

Ma tres chere Cousine Elise,

I am to be married later today, and although I am happy, so happy, my sadness that you are not with me does not leave. My parents cannot make the ceremony this day either, it has all happened so quickly, but somehow that feels fitting. If you cannot be there, you who in so many ways behaved as a mother to me, I feel that it would be all the stranger if they were present. It almost makes it easier to bear, since you could perhaps be with them, delayed, sending your wishes from a distance. Instead of gone, in the next world and never to roll your eyes and adjust my dress again.

Joey has been so kind, and I will have far more of a celebration than I ever expected. We have made me a dress, and I have borrowed or been given, oh so many things to make this a special day. I am so grateful, and know I am loved. I have been treated so well, aided and pampered, and even the girls have collected for me I believe. Such kindness, and it does look likely to be a lovely day. A day I never really expected to have anything other than the formality, due to our circumstances. I am so very lucky.

I know it is foolish thing to wish, but a small part of me almost dreams that when I get there, you will be at the door, a proud look upon your face. I would be able to introduce you to my new husband after our vows, have your blessing upon us. I would be able to look forward to maybe one day showing you a child, our child if we should be so blessed. You would enjoy being almost a grandmere, being able to sew beautiful garments for them, teach them to be neat, reliable, loyal. Brave.

I remember so many times that I felt I could never manage, could never find myself as brave as those around me. I had such silly passions for things, for people, such jealousy. You would never let me wallow in my foolishness, yet if there were anything real and important, I knew always that you would be there. With advice, or simply a loving embrace, a reassurance that I was not alone. For I did feel so alone, so unsure in this school of oh so confident English and Austrian girls, so many of them just knew what to do. They knew what each other meant so easily, when they were joking, which slights were real. I felt too passionately for my cher Joey, did not know how strongly a friendship should be felt. You guided me, helped me to cope, not to make too great a fool of myself. I know you yourself found them a strange group on occasions, yet you knew that I had to grow stronger, had to play by their rules.

I am still to teach for now, you know. Although I will live out of the school, will have rooms in the village. I will be glad to have a space of our own, somewhere to make the beginnings of our little family. I will find it strange however, for I will live away from the school for the first time except for my time at university. The Chalet School has been my home, my family, and my life. Thanks to you, to the fact that you worked to cover my school fees, board and supplies. I am forever grateful, for I know that you would so often have been unable to buy things for yourself, not earning a salary, working simply for Renee and I to have a future. Every day that I stand in front of a class, I think of you and am so proud that I did make it through to the Sorbonne, have made my own way in the world, not wasted the education and chances in life that you gave.

I am grateful, ma chere cousine, so very grateful. It might be disloyal to mama, but I cannot help the feeling that you have also been a true mother to me, that perhaps it is fitting that if you could not be here, neither should she or Papa. I lived with them so seldom once the school began, yet you were there, always there. You would look at me sadly if you heard this, I know, and tell me to forget such thoughts, for you would not wish to take the love from my parents. They could not help our family circumstances, that I know, nor the fact that you were just so much stronger, more able to cope with the world.

I am rambling now, and I ought to try to sleep. I feel better for having admitted my sadness, my feeling of loss. I am at peace with the fact that you know I would wish you beside me. I feel now that I was foolish to even feel sadness that you are not here. For you are with me, around me every day, and I am blessed to have you there, still protecting me.

With all my love,

Simone



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