catherine's corner


Some part of him died in 1830, a casualty of despair. Since then he has existed in a kind of gray twilight, caring for nothing. He accepted Grantaire's invitation partly, perhaps chiefly, out of apathy; it was easiest, it meant one more thing with which he need not concern himself.

Letters come for him, which he puts aside without opening. Grantaire reads them with his indifferent permission, and deals with their contents. He goes out only when he must, and speaks to no one unless spoken to.

Grantaire brings things from time to time, with the bewildered eyes of an anxious dog; a new book, a secondhand witticism, better wine than he would bother buying for himself. Once he comes home with a paper, badly printed, full of republican rhetoric in which Enjolras recognizes some of his own phrases. A sudden red pain pierces the grayness. He snatches the page, crushes it in one hand and hurls it into the fire. They do not speak of it again.

They sleep in the bed together, without touching.

One night he wakes suddenly, and the room is empty. The grayness parts like a curtain, letting darkness in upon him. He sits up, blind and panicked, and perhaps he cries out without realizing it, for the door opens and Grantaire is beside him on the bed -- "God, mon ami, are you all right? Hush, now, hush. It's all right," and he lets himself be comforted like a child.

Something new is born in him then, small and silent. It hurts. But this time, he welcomes it.