“A human being’s life has two major countenance.
The impersonal and the introspective aspects. In other words the outer and the inner dispositions.
The objective appearance is the physical, the material, with all its divers qualities.
The fundamental structure of the ego resonates from the mind and the senses, as thoughts and feelings.
The body has to be sustained and cared for by means of substantial dynamism.
The mind and the senses procure knowledge ceaselessly without hindrance. But once knowledge attained, the human being understands the difference between the body and the owner of the body.
Self -realisation or self -knowledge comes to play.
The body is never the self. The mind is only a previous state of action.
The activities of the mind, reflected through the body, are the result of discontent, of fear and suffering.
If one enjoys, he or she relishes out of his or her own deed. If one suffers, he or she endures out of his or her own deed.
One, who has perceived what is the body and what is the mind and that there is no fortitude in either, has achieved everlasting pathos.
Pathos is naturally lived without a thought about it.
Pathos is the manifestation of the soul. The soul is full of knowledge, full always with pathos.
We are all perpetual individuals, because all of us are individual beings eternally.”
Madeleine Findji was born in 1914, in a suburb of Paris, called Clichy.
The tribulations of war were familiar to the Findji family. They could not forget the four years that was the First World War. They had witnessed the German regiments marching down the Champs-Elysees. The French had been humiliated before and political calm has been absent for a long time. They were present at the construction and the completion of the Eiffel Tower.
Noel Findji, " Papa ", as he was named, was a graduate from the l'Ecole des Beaux Arts, majoring in " Ponts et Chaussées ", civil engineering.
Angel Findji, or maman, or Madam Findji, as she was called in the business, was a well-known couturiere. She was born in an affluent family, whose standing in society was symbolised with the lore of classic arts, in
opera and theatre.
After Madeleine's sombre and dispirited childhood, during her teens, the French dynamism was rejuvenated. New verve and enthusiasm had catapulted, and literature, painting, science, music and theatre throve immensely.
The scene in the arts had produced Gide, Proust, Cocteau, Malraux, Matisse, and Maurice Chevalier captivated France.
Maman had been eminently exhortative in Madeleine's education. She took her to the opera, where she had seasonal membership, to concerts by local or visiting soloists, to the theatre, where Comedie Francaise will perform and to the ballet performances.
Madeleine had applied for and won a scholarship right after she had succeeded in her baccalaureate, her high school certificate. Since the early age of eight she had taken regular piano lessons, and at the time of her graduation she had decided to become a concert pianist. The educational fund was an opportune support for her to enter the Conservatoire De Paris.
At the age of seventeen, in 1931, it was a quite achievement.
Some days she would take the metro and get off at the Gare St. Lazare and walk towards Rue De Madrid, and other days her father would drive his old Cytroen down Avenue De Clichy, where the conservatory was located, before going to work in the architectural firm, H.P. La Crouste, on the Rue Bonaparte.
She would spend her days studying her musicology subjects, and had disciplined herself exercising her piano more than seven hours a day, whether at home or at the conservatory.
Her teacher for piano was the very famous Professor Emilio Carro. Under his guidance,
Madeleine knew how fortunate she was.
Madeleine was the favourite among her school friends. Most of them had gone in different careers, after their graduation from high school, but they had kept in touch with each other by meeting once in a while at different occasions.
The closest and most favoured friend, who shared each other's private teenage secrets, was Christine Mosses. After graduation, Christine having a passion for books, found a position in the Bibliotheque National, the National Library, on the Rue de Richelieu. She was also the Findji family predestined; Madam Findji loved her and called her my " second daughter ".
Madeleine and Christine were inseparable.
They were mature enough to go out together to visit museums, galleries, parks, and cinemas.
Their favourite was a theatre called " Les Jeunes Parisiens ", in Saint Denis, which was popular with students, who with the accompaniment of the accordion would sing French chansons.
One of these nights, at the bar of the theatre, when they were ordering lemonade, a young man approached Christine and started a conversation.
" I have seen you quite many times here ", he said," my name is Emile Georgiou, what is your name?", he asked.
Christine had seen Emile prior to this meeting, and she had confided to Madeleine on looking for a motive to have an encounter with the handsome youth.
But at that very moment she was speechless.
" Oh", she exclaimed, with a surprised expression, " I am Christine Mosses, this is Madeleine Findji, my best friend ", she added, not knowing what more to say.
Emile, graciously, extended his hand to the two girls. An amicable ambience was originated.
" Let's find a table ", interfered Madeleine, " I see one over there, come on Emile, there are three chairs ".
Once seated, Christine was over the moon. She wouldn't show the thrill she felt, but never the less she was widely smiling.
" Let me guess ", Emile asked, " What kind of an employment you are in. Are you a librarian?"
The two girls went into a frantic laughter.
" How did you assumed?" " Do I look like one ", asked Christine. " Let me guess, are you a musician, a writer or an artist?"
" Well, I would like to, I work in a newspaper as an errand boy, while I am studying journalism at the College de France".
" Which newspaper?"
" Les Pages Francaise " answered Emile, " Which library do you work?"
" At the Bibliotheque National, I just check out and place the returned books back on the shelves, for the time being, but I like it ".
By this time the whole theatre was singing to the tune of the accordion.
" He is so nice, isn't he ", whispered Christine to Madeleine.
" You like him, don't you? ", asked Madeleine.
" I think its time to have a boyfriend ", said Christine in a audacious manner.
Emile was singing, but he could hear the conversation. He was smiling. He was happy too.
At the end of the show, Emile asked them if he can accompany them to their destination. They agreed.
Walking towards the metro, Emile asked Christine if he could visit her at the library.
" Yes", she said, " I usually have lunch at twelve o'clock, and I leave at six ".
They separated at the metro station. Emile gave a kiss to both girls at the cheek. A respectful custom of the French.
When Christine and Madeleine were left alone, Christine didn't stop talking about Emile.
Her whole being was emerged in Emile's entity. When they were separating to go home, Christine turned to Madeleine, and said.
" I hope I'll see him again. I think I am in love. I wish he loves me too".
" I wish also whatever your heart desires, Christine ".
Soon, Emile would join Christine and Madeleine in their divergent endeavours. They had become good, faithful and dependable companions.
Emile was a member of a youth club, called " Club Commune ", in Saint Denis, affiliated to the Popular Front, which was an amalgamation of socialist and communist sympathisers.
Once or twice a week, mostly on weekends, when they could get together, they would go to the club, where the atmosphere was sociable and they would engage in serious political discussions and deliberations.
Some of them participated in acting certain modest plays.
Madeleine performed a little piano recital every month.
There were nights organised for music and dance.
The club was continually active, with many supporters, who came from courtly families.
Emile was totally loyal to the club, and Christine was totally loyal to Emile.
They have become very close to each other, and the future seemed promising.
Meanwhile, the days, the months and the years were going by and the economic and political arena was deteriorating. Europe was in disturbances. Pacts, and agreements between nations were being created and denounced.
In June 1936, Madeleine graduated from the conservatory with distinction. At the graduation ceremony she played Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, accompanied by Professor Carro. That was a triumph. The audience were touched and requested four encores. Papa and Maman Findji were celebrating a victory. They knew how much their daughter was dedicated to her piano. And above all, Madeleine herself had discovered that music enabled her to be carried away beyond herself and that sensation was the nearest thing she knew to happiness.
After the graduation observance, Professor Carro, approached Madeleine's parents, and asked them if it would be to their agreement if Madeleine would become his assistant in the conservatory.
" She grew up in your hands, Professor", Said Papa Findji, " I am sure she will accept."
That night, at the club, during the graduation ball, Emile and Christine, after raising their glasses of champagne to Madeleine's success, announced their wedding date.
The cheers and the rejoicing were made twice as much.
The festivity went on till the morning hours.
The next morning the newspapers were proclaiming the denouncement of the Locarno Pact, by Hitler, and his decision to remilitarise the Rhineland.
At the same time, the same year, the Popular Front coalition won the French elections.
Emile and Christine walked into a préfecture and signed a civic marriage.
The families of both newly weds were extremely disappointed for not being told of the delightful news, but never the less they had a private feast, inviting close friends, including the Findji family.
During the gathering, Christine found a moment to talk to Madeleine alone.
" I want to give you a delightful news ", she said, " I have been pregnant for more than a month ".
Madeleine was astonished. But very exhilarated by the news.
" Christine ", she said, " This is the best news for a long time, from now on you have to be careful with yourself, you are responsible for three people, Emile, the baby and yourself ", she joked.
The year was 1939. The French government had changed faces and The Munich Pact was signed to appease Nazi Germany. This had angered the youth of the Popular Front.
Shortly, in March 1939, Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich agreement. In August the U.S.S.R. and Germany signed a non-aggression Pact. In September Hitler invaded Poland.
History was being developed step by step along the footpath of these youngsters.
Following the invasion of Poland, England and France, in September 3rd, declared war against Germany.
After years of extending and delaying his studies, Emile, finally couldn't put off his final exams. At last he submitted his dissertation and obtained his long due diploma.
He was still employed at the " Les Pages Française ", and had a promotion as a fellow journalist, helping the editor with political interviews to several party members.
Emile was utterly absorbed with the conception that France was failing to act efficiently on the political and military issues.
His conclusions on these matters had created a strong argument among the media of the same period.
The accuracy of those contentions will bring him to fame and respect later in his career.
On the New Years day, 1940, Emile telephoned Madeleine, with a quivering but arousing voice, announcing that Christine had been just submitted to hospital with laboring pains.
" She asked me if you can join her immediately ", " would you please ", he asked, hopelessly.
Madeleine was elated and shouting with joy, she said Papa Findji would take her at once.
A gorgeous baby boy was born, on January First 1940, at noon, and was named Victor André Georgiou.
To ascertain the doomed actualities that Emile had suspected, an unprepared France, faced the finest army the world would ever see, and in June 1940 France surrendered to German forces. Immediately the Germans exercised their occupying powers, and the Gestapo went on with its racist activities.
France soon became an occupied and an unoccupied country. The invasion was restricted to the north and the east, leaving the south to preserve a limited independence under a provisional government in Vichy.
This existence became a terrible pain for the Parisians. An enormous depression had clouded this radiant city.
Most of the city activities had stopped. A glum embodied the entire population.
Christine was busy raising Victor and Madeleine would spent hours with them. That was there sole consolation.
Some evenings they all gathered at Emile's, and pondered the indefinite future.
One of those days, when frustration had mounted to critical level, Emile got the idea to get out of the house and try to walk around the city. Christine would not go because of the baby, so Madeleine joined Emile and they went out wandering around the landmarks, from Place Vendôme towards Avenue des Champs-Élysées. German soldiers were everywhere. It was frightening. But the most shocking scene was the huge Nazi flag hanging on top of the Arc de Triomphe. Madeleine couldn't believe this dramatic picture of her beloved city and a deep sorrow came over her. Thoughts of uncertainty and confusion dominated her entity. She asked Emile to hurry back home.
The same night, on radio, General Charles de Gaulle proclaimed, from London, the continued resistance of the " Free French" people.
Emile was hysterical by the news. He was so ecstatic that he couldn't control himself from the emotion, and sat on the couch and cried. He turned to Christine after a while and said.
" I am going to work tomorrow, and I will analyse how can I join the Resistance, do you have any objection?"
Without waiting for an answer from Christine, Madeleine dropped in.
" Emile ", she asked, " Can you find out for me, how can I be of any help to the wounded soldiers, a hospital anywhere. I think this will be my contribution to the Resistance ".
" Les Pages Française ", was an authoritative voice of the Communist ideology, the favourite among the youth and the intellectuals. Emile had become a strong advocate and promoter of this popular movement. The communist ideology had withheld their political ambitions during those critical times and had become a great supporter of the Resistance activities, with the longing to root out the Fascist presence from France.
Whilst the Resistance, being the remnants of the shattered and scattered military old guards, gathered together and given a vivacity, with the principal of French unity, was surely and positively expanding and getting into a working order and becoming aware of itself and its force and proficiency.
Madeleine's wish and desire to partake in the struggle of her beloved nation, under any framework of association was very welcomed by the Resistance authorities.
A week after the invasion, Professor Carro had moved south of Lyon with his family and the future in the Conservatory was left in oblivion.
Emile was pre-occupied with his own concerns for over a week. Christine had fallen into a severe distressing disposition. She didn't know what would be Emile's fate. She was as patriotic as him, but her son's, Victor's presence had created a set back, or a priority to care for him first. They had serious discussions about their circumstances, and had decided that Christine will stay home and take care of Victor and he will follow his destiny and make known to her his movements.
After several weeks of weighing prospects about Madeleine's request, Emile visited her at home.
" First and foremost I like to thank you for your aspiration to help the Resistance. I discussed with several colleagues and we came up with two options or choices. Since you asked me to find a hospital where you will be able to help the wounded soldiers or the casualties from the front, there are two locations, one is in Paris and the other is in the south, in a small town called Tournus, which is run by nuns. It is up to you, you will be welcomed in either one ".
Papa and Maman Findji were present in this conversation. Madeleine turned to her parents and asked their opinion.
" We would like you to stay with us my dear ", said Madame Findji, " But we don't know how safe we will continue to be here. If you have to go, which will brake my heart, my beautiful daughter, I think you should go south, where our land is still relatively free and the hospital is run by nuns, dear ".
" How, about you, father? ", asked Madeleine, " Shall I go to Tournus, It is south of Dijon and I think it is safer ". And she turned to Emile and with a smile, she asked.
" Emile, do you know if they have a piano in the Hospital? ".
" I apologise", Emile answered, " I am in a real hurry, would you let Christine know of your decision, I will be away for a few days, on my return I will organise your departure, wherever you decide, at the mean time, Papa and Maman, if you need anything, let Christine know ".
And Emile left.
The Findji family, three of them, fell into a deep apprehension and misgivings. They fully trusted Emile, but they were asking each other, why are these sufferings happening, why they have to be separated from each other, why and why.
The answer was obvious and visible. Evil had contaminated the world. Wrath and fury was threatening human existence. Fire can never be extinguished by furnishing more fuel.
Madeleine had to have peaceful years ahead of her, to remain strong and creative.
This was the resolution the Findji parents took for their daughter.
Preparations were made for Madeleine to take the trip to Tournus and join the Resistance the way she found the most fulfilling, working with the calamities of the war.
Emile became an insurrectionist. A coordinator of hazardous missions of the Resistance.
Four years past by.
Difficult and troublesome years.
Emile visited the Findjis many times, to help them with the necessities they required.
During periods of covert travels, he called upon Madeleine to bring messages from her parents, and acquaint her with the latest from Christine and Victor.
He had desperate and frantic moments during this period, but also immensely gratifying.
Being part of a cause had its own conflicts though. He was an extremely intelligent man, and essentially he had discovered that the reliance on a certain religion, or a certain nation or any type of identification created an antagonism and an inward frustration.
Even being a Communist. Nothing can be substituted for freedom.
But this belief was intensely personal. He wouldn't share it with anybody.
At that time the Communist party had shown astonishing progress and its membership had increased extremely.
Late in 1944, France was ready for new elections. The Communists showed their strong presence and collaborated with General De Gaulle.
The Findjis were anxiously waiting for the arrival of their daughter and her new found friend, Sergey. They didn't know much about him, except that he was a Russian Prisoner of War, and a slave labour in a German camp. There were many like him in Paris at the time. But they recognised her enthusiasm and her eagerness as being the expression of a flourishing love.
Christine had received a letter from Madeleine, in which she had passionately described her emotions towards Sergey. She had written about the charm Sergey resonated, and her untarnished affection and dedication she had towards him.
Christine was somewhat surprised by the letter, since the " Madeleine " she knew, was an independent, freedom loving and self-reliant person. Never the less she recalled a French saying. " The heart has its reasons, that reason cannot understand ".
Emile Georgiou presently was the Editor in Chief of the " Les Pages Française ". He was a well-respected and reputable columnist. He had connections in government places and had growing ties with foreign diplomats, especially with the USSR embassy officials. He would be invited to their functions and voice his opinions about the latest political developments.
They would always regard him as an individual with considerable knowledge.
The political life was unstable. There were constant coalitions between Communists, Socialists, Radicals and Moderates.
But Emile Georgiou kept his integrity and principles undiminished.
At the home front, Christine was ready to send Victor to the nearby Kindergarten and reclaim her librarian position. Victor was a five years old, bright, handsome and sometimes naughty boy. He was outgoing and resourceful child, with the tireless and persisting questions typical to that age… " Why is this, like this ", " Why is that, like that ", Why and why and why….
Christine was a happy and contended lady. She was ready for a second child, but Emile was cautious. But they were fortunate the war had ended without any catastrophe.
Paris was going through an astonishing work of modernisation. Reconstructions had begun everywhere. The intellectual life had come to vigour and vitality. The whole population had been rejuvenated.
Parisians will never forget the day when General De Gaulle returned and celebrations were held and when an ocean of people gathered at the Place de L' Etoile and marched towards the Arc De Triomphe, on the Champs-Elysées. It was a historical day.
Twenty Second of May 1945.
At the Gare de Lyon, off Boulevard Diderot, Mr. And Mrs. Findji and Mr. And Mrs. Georgiou with their son Victor are waiting for the train, which will arrive in any moment from Dijon.
There is a feeling of anticipation and sort of confident expectation in the eyes of the waiting family.
They are not exchanging many words, since the lingering of time is already arduous.
Victor is on the move.
" Pap, who is Madeleine? ", he asks his father.
" Son, " says Christine, " Don't you remember Aunt Madeleine? When you were a baby she took care of you ".
" She is papa Findji's daughter, son ". Said Emile.
At last, the train was visible entering the station with its regular puffing and blowing air and the horrid sound of the abrasion of its wheels. The carriages were following in a slow motion, and here it was, from one of the windows, Madeleine was waving her arm, and they were all ecstatic and running towards the door of the wagon.
Emile was first at the bottom of the steps. He embraced Christine the moment she put her feet on the ground. Christine was next, they hugged each other like two sisters, who were lost and had found each other at that instant.
Papa and Maman were watching them with tears running from their cheeks. They were more patient. Their turn arrived, and Madeleine looked back for a moment.
" Sergey ", she said in a quivering voice, " Meet, please, my mother and my father ".
And she put her arms around both and started kissing them with a warmth and affection, which lasted several minutes.
Papa Findji made the first move, approaching Sergey he extended his hand to a gracious and warm handshake.
Madeleine followed by introducing Sergey to Emile and Christine.
" You are mostly welcomed, and please feel at home, Sergey, we are a very simple family". Said Madam Findji.
" We are all gathering at our place, Emile, we will commemorate the return of our daughter and her friend, will meet you at our house '. Said Papa Findji.
They all got into their cars.
When they arrived at the Findji's home, Madeleine arranged immediately a room for Sergey.
She wanted him to feel as homelike as possible. She knew that this change in his life was very difficult and complex for him.
And although Sergey was quiet and composed, his state of mind was a combination of memories, of time, of loneliness, of confusion, of transformation, of surrender. The pursuit of the unknown was driving him into turmoil. He had to stop the search for the unknown and try to relish the present. The love and the attention Madeleine and her family were offering. But it was not easy. It needed an enormous effort to detach him from the past. To see the happiness of a family and friends uniting was enough for him to shatter, and sitting in the room alone, he burst into an irrepressible weeping.
A knock on the door.
" Dinner is ready, Sergey, we are waiting for you ", it was Madeleine.
That call was so soothing and genuine, that Sergey calmed down his nerves, washed his face in the small washbasin in the room and joined the rest of family and the guests.
Papa Findji and Emile were playing chess. Sergey sat next to them.
Emile abruptly jumped and shouted, " Check mate ".
Sergey looked at the board and calmly said.
" Not yet, Emile ".
An alliance among these three gentlemen was being flourished.
After dinner the subject of the conversation swang between Madeleine and Sergey.
Papa Findji had his usual bottle of Port next to him; he would fill his glass every now and then and ask the guests for refills.
Madeleine and Christine were absorbed with Victor.
Madam Findji was fascinated with Sergey's accent.
Emile was the one who would ask the social and political questions.
" Sergey, have you ever seen Stalin? "
" Sergey, describe Lenin's Mausoleum, is the body really intact?"
" Sergey, what is the income of an engineer, like you?
" Sergey, what do you think about the Yalta Conference?".
" Sergey, how do you feel about the Nuremberg Trials ".
This last question aroused new queries. The Nuremberg Trials. This time Sergey made the inquiry.
" Emile, do you have the details of the Trial? There was a revelation on the Slave Labourers and some special considerations were made, and also, I think, an offer was made to help the victims ".
" I will look into it, Sergey, There is a copy of the Trial in my office. I will help you any way I can, but first I think you should apply for Residential Permit ".
" Yes, Emile ", said Madeleine, " I am taking Sergey next week to the "Centre de Reception des Etrangers ", the centre of welcoming the foreigners, we have to take an application form from the Police Prefecture".
" France is experiencing that not all the Prisoners of War are returning home, you know?, so there are special provisions being made ". Added Emile.
" Thank you ", said Sergey, " I am very grateful for your help and hospitality, anyway I can return your favours, just let me know, I can do any type of work, electrical, mechanical, carpentry, plumbing, building, painting…
" That's enough ", interrupted Papa Findji, " I have plans for you, just relax for a few weeks, I know what you have gone through. We respect the war victims ".
And he turned to Madeleine, and asked her.
" Madeleine, my beloved, why don't you play on the piano a little from Chopin for us? ".
" Yes, Papa " , she said, " You know, I told you this before, the hospital had a reception room and I would spend quite many hours weekly exercising the piano and I should visit the conservatory very soon, see if Professor Carro is back, start preparations for the " Young People's International Competition " which will happen in three months ".
The moment Madeleine approached the piano; Victor ran and sat in front of it.
" Victor, darling, let aunt Madeleine sit next to you. You know she will teach you how to play next year ", said Christine.
Will I? ", Asked Madeleine, surprised, " Certainly I will ". " Get off my seat, Victor, I let you play later ".
Madeleine began with Chopin's Sixth Polonaise, which is also called " Heroic ". With so much ease, this highly charged piece was played with delicacy and tenacity, sending goose bumps to the listeners. And it followed with the Fantaisie-Polonaise. Such an impressive command of the instrument and a highly emotional interpretation and an impassionate climax.
" Bravo, bravo ", were shouting all of them.
There were tears in everybody's eyes.
It was an unforgettable night.
A friendship was being cultured between Emile and Sergey.
Emile of course was the infinite questioner, as much as an inquisitor, on analysing every answer Sergey would give about the social, economical and political life in the USSR. His journalistic ardour was steadfastly in motion.
In a more personal level, Emile was diving in troubled waters.
Sergey was somewhat shy in answering questions about his past commitments, he would become more philosophical, saying that everything in life is the manifestation of the constitution of the individual.
" When I was twenty six years old, my activities were more deluded and I behaved more in sinful ways. Today, after six years of soul searching, I have found the soul of existence. I have found my real identity. I love Madeleine, and I don't want to create an illusion, which eventually will make me dwell in dishonour and put her in misery and pain. But as a human being, I am prone to forget the past, I cannot predict the outcome of my present life, nor can I foretell the future. Maybe you can answer the following for me, would you have known, when you met Christine, that you would marry her, or you would join the Resistance, or even would you predict the birth of your son, Victor? ".
" I know, Sergey, I never judge you, life evolves, grows, matures and develops. Changes are part of the very nature of life. You know how close I am to Madeleine, my query comes strictly from my own inner self, and I want to be sincere with you, by knowing you better. And frankly, you have my complete trust and confidence. Ask for any assistance and I will do my best to help and support you ".
It was inconceivable for Sergey to exclude the hesitancy people would have about his past. This sensitivity was taking away the inner peace, which was established within him.
He developed a sense of remorse and became recluse and depressed and felt dejected.
His love for Madeleine was unconditional. And his love for his son was undoubtedly an absolute truth.
To maintain a mental stability was the most difficult part.
Following a week of rest, which was almost required of them by Papa Findji, Madeleine and Sergey ventured out to visit the police prefecture to make acquisitions on Sergey obtaining a residency permit.
They were directed to the Town Hall, where all the foreigners' residency matters were being conducted. There, they were given application forms to fill and submit and the resulting answers would be mailed to them.
" So far so good ", remarked Madeleine, " Let's walk around town, and enjoy this beautiful city Sergey, would you like to visit the Conservatory?, there are so many people I like to meet and find out what is happening ".
" Of course ", said Sergey, " you are my guide ".
Madeleine recognised Sergey's distressed disposition. But her thoughts were not guided by doubts about his former life; instead, she presumed his depressed mood was the result of the uncertainties about his residency.
She has become vulnerable to his complexions. But she found it normal to have Sergey's make up, because his difficult past and uncertain future. She had to give him strength and hope, after all she loved him completely too, and she would do anything to make him happy.
On the way to the conservatory, they stopped at a café and enjoyed some crêpe with chocolate.
" I want you to know ", said Madeleine, " that whatever the outcome of your application will be, I am standing by you. Nobody and nothing will change my mind. I will follow you, wherever our destiny will take us. Feel secure and let's enjoy our sojourn, all right? ".
They looked at each other's eyes, and there was a smile of coherence on their faces. They were uniting quietly with celestial blessing.
They both knew that this penetrating truth was to be their destiny.
At the entrance of the Conservatory, they both looked at the elegant and attractive building.
" This place was my life after I left school, it is like a church for me ", said Madeleine, showing tears in her eyes. " Let's go in and find professor Carro, I have to organise exercising sessions for the next competition, I want to participate in, and also acquire about my job prospects ".
Professor Carro was nowhere to be found. They walked in the administration office, where Madeleine met her old colleagues. It was very enlivening and delightful to find some of them there, as if it was yesterday that she had left the place.
They informed her that Professor Carro had unfortunately retired and left for Italy.
Madeleine was very disappointed. It was the first time in her musical career that she felt a set back, of course without counting her four years in Tournus.
" Do not despair, Madeleine, please, there are many great piano teachers in Moscow ", he said jokingly.
" Yes, I know, but I want one here and now ", she said in a spoiled manner. " Let's return home, after all, I am a good teacher too ", she added with a self assurance. " I will work on my piano scales four to five hours a day and I will choose a Russian composer's work, I think it will be Moussorgsky's piano suite " Pictures at an exhibition ", yes, it's perfect, it lasts about thirty five minutes, that's what the jury is asking for, I'll play for you when we get home, I will dedicate it to you and the Russian culture ", and she was already so excited, stimulated and thrilled of her idea that she was jumping around and hugging Sergey.
When Papa Findji arrived home that night, he had good news for Sergey. One of the building contractors of his Architectural firm had a job opening for a handyman on one of their building sites.
" As soon as you receive your residency permit, Sergey, I will take you to the building site and introduce you to the supervisor, it's up to you to decide whether you will accept the job he will offer you. If not, there will be other jobs ".
" Thank you Papa, I am indebted to you forever, I just hope that I'll obtain a permit as soon as possible. I want to start to work, to keep busy and to become productive ".
Most of the evenings at the Findji's were quiet nights. After dinner Madam Findji will get busy with her dress making, Madeleine would play the piano or pick up a book, and Papa Findji and Sergey would have a game of chess and listen to the radio for the latest news.
That night Sergey asked Madeleine if she could give him some letter papers and an envelope.
" I will write a letter to my son ", he said, " if I can put words together. I will try to explain him what happened to his father, and what he is up to now, do you mind "? He asked.
" Oh, Sergey, I think you must ", answered Madeleine, " he is your offspring, I think the Soviet Union is softening their approach towards humane conditions, I read yesterday in Emile's article that the evidence of the renewal of the purges of the Nineteen Thirties, has to be ignored. There is no such evidence. Write, Sergey, he is your son ".
Sergey was alleviated by Madeleine's answer. The tolerance that this woman was showing towards him was unbelievable. Her reaction to any self-seeking thought was always broad-minded and considerate.
He retired in his room and wrote his letter, page after page, full of confessions, admissions and revelations. He ended the letter offering his unqualified love, with a promise to join him in the future.
In January 1946, General Charles de Gaulle resigned as President.
A new Constitution was approved by referendum.
The economy was very slow in recovering.
A letter from the Interior Ministry, addressed to Sergey Ivanovitch Alexandrov, containing a permit card issued to his name, was granting him a temporary residency for six months with an option of renewal for another six months. Plus a working permit during this period.
This transient status had an ill-starred significance on Sergey. But at the same time, he came to the conclusion that one-year is long enough to make efforts to stay or to return.
With or without Madeleine. He hasn't spoken to Madeleine as yet.
She was diligently preparing her recital for the " Young People's International Competition " and Sergey did not dare to diverge her attention to anything else.
That day he decided to go to the city by himself to see Papa Findji at his workplace. He took the metro to St. Germain des Prés, and walked to the rue Bonaparte, where Monsieur Findji's architectural firm was located.
As soon as Papa Findji saw Sergey, he invited him to have lunch with him at a nearby brasserie on the boulevard.
Sergey showed Papa the letter he had received.
" I imagine, you came to look for a job, my good friend ", said Papa, " I will arrange that tomorrow, and hopefully you can start immediately. Do not be concerned much about the length of time the government is providing you for your stay, Emile has some affiliations within the administration, we will talk to him ".
" There is another subject I want to bring up with you, Papa ", " your hospitality is overwhelming and I am very grateful, but enough is enough, I like to ask you to help me find a place for my own, a small apartment or a room in an attic, nearby, as soon as I will receive my first wages ".
" Ha, ha, ha, Sergey, your putting me into trouble with Madeleine, I don't think she will agree to your suggestion, she herself is staying at home on the condition that you will remain there too. We will talk tonight, when I get home. You're not any burden on us, I want you to know that ".
" Papa, please do not open this subject, until Madeleine has ended her piano competition, would you promise this to me?"
" I promise, Sergey, meanwhile, please feel comfortable with us. You are welcomed in our home, like a son ".
It was an encouragement for Sergey to hear Papa saying those things, and also it was a pleasure for him to visit the city by himself and go around, so while he was close to the Eiffel Tower, he walked along the river Seine, on the Quai d'Orsay and arrived at this marvellous four hundred meters high iron framework, reaching the skies. When he was in university majoring in mechanical engineering, this tower was a special subject for being an astounding engineering achievement. And surprisingly, there were some critics that hated it, and when the Tower was due for destruction in 1910, nobody could confront the decision, so it became the symbol of Paris.
Sergey sat in the nearby park, until sunset, and enjoyed his day, savouring with his eyes the beauty of this city.
He had arranged with Papa Findji to meet him and drive home with him.
On the way home they stopped at a bar and had a few aperitifs and had a warm conversation.
" Tell me Sergey ", asked Papa, " Is Madeleine an important person in your life?"
" I cannot challenge you Papa, she is your daughter, but with great humility and modesty I can assure you that my love for her is genuine, and I'll do anything for her ".
" We always taught Madeleine that the value of life is not in materialistic endeavours, but essentially in moral and spiritual emancipation. She grew up to be a free spirited individual and an artist on her own rights, and we are immensely proud of her. The depth of her relationships has always been in giving, almost a self-forgetfulness. Therefore her mother and myself have always alerted her to be prudent to avoid unfolding disappointments. I am talking to you as a parent to a friend, who my daughter, is also very much in love with ".
" I have discovered her devoted nature, Papa, that's one of her spiritual resources, and I consider myself very fortunate. I would never harm or maltreat her under any circumstances. I myself have discovered that materialistic conception of life leads a person to self-destruction. I am a believer of conscientious behaviour, and when love becomes a quality of life ".
" Well said, Sergey, I cannot predict the inevitable, but I believe in fate, I want you to know that my wife and I, will accept any outcome of this existence ".
" Thank you, Papa, I will never let you down ".
" Let's go home, I am getting hungry ".
When they arrived home, Madeleine had a big surprise for Sergey. There was a huge package in the living room.
" Sergey ", she said, " You're not allowed to open before dinner ".
Papa interfered, " I am allowed…"
" No, Papa, that's for Sergey only, please, let's have dinner right now, Maman, is the dinner ready, shall we sit?"
" Yes, my dear, I am just bringing it on the dinner table ".
The time came after dinner to open the package. Sergey was somehow baffled, and asked Madeleine to open the package herself.
" No, Sergey, it's for you and you open it right away, please ".
Sergey slowly started to open the package. The more he got rid of the papers the more a navy blue colour material showed up. Finally, a good-looking suit got unveiled, also a white dress shirt and a matching tie.
Sergey was speechless. He put the jacket against his chest. It seemed the right measurement.
" Please, Sergey, will you go and wear the whole thing, with the shirt and the tie. I thought you have to get dressed formally the day of my competition, which is next week, on Saturday.
Come on, please, I like to see you all dressed up ".
" Oh, darling, said Papa, the competition is next Saturday, and where is the location, dear?"
" Théâtre Musical de Paris ", Papa, at the Place du Châtelet, you, Maman and Sergey will come together; I will be there three hours before for the last trial. Is it all right? ".
" Of course my dear, we wish you good luck, and we will be there to applaud your performance, Maman and I "
Sergey appeared at the living room in front of the Findji family, dressed almost like a groom.
They all had admiration expressions on their faces.
The next day, Papa Findji took Sergey to work with him.
Madam Findji was fully absorbed in cutting and sewing Madeleine's taffeta dress for her concert.
Madeleine was practicing on her piano all day. Repeating difficult movements, until she would consume and it would become a methodical reflex. This competition was of great importance for her. The four years in Tournus had consequently left her belated in her career. She was not regretful but she had to catch up with her technique.
The audience were already in their sits, and the three finalists, one of whom being Madeleine, were in the backstage, having inner tremors, and wishing each other good luck.
Madeleine was the first to appear.
All she could remember was the applause when she entered the stage and the applause when she left the stage. Behind the curtain she was quivering like a leaf and she had a feeling of failure, she was not pleased with her performance. She wanted to disappear, vanish from the place. She went to the lavatory and splashed her face with cold water. She looked at the mirror and her face was pale like the white marble around her.
" What happened? ", she asked herself. " The moments went so fast, I felt giddy ".
She went back behind the wings of the stage. She was stabilising slowly.
The second pianist had just ended her part. The audience were applauding again.
Suddenly she saw Emile approaching her.
" Congratulations ", he said, " You were marvellous ". And kissed her on both cheeks.
" Christine is in the audience with your parents and Sergey, we decide to celebrate the occasion at " Au p'tit Rémouleur ", here, around the corner ".
The announcement of the winner will be the next day.
She joined her parents and her friends and they left for the restaurant.
After having a glass of wine, followed by compliments,
" I think I am having stage fright ", she said to the people around the table, " For a moment, I was just lost, I don't remember a thing. And I think I will be satisfied to stay as a finalist. I think the prize will go to the last performer, Gerard Ferrand ".
" Don't you get annoyed darling ", said Papa Findji, " You were excellent, and you did your best, that's all you need ".
The next day, from the " Les Pages Française ", Madam Findji read the following;
" The debut performance of pianist Madeleine Findji, playing Moussorgsky's " Pictures at an Exhibition ", was a combination marked by perfect synthesis of objectivity and boundless subjectivity, and an outstanding interpretative power. She might have not won the First Prize of the competition, but undoubtedly she has unbounded possibilities as a virtuoso.
We congratulate her warmly."
Madeleine knew Emile was just being generous and charitable with his comments, but she was happy and contented by the outcome of her performance.
When Sergey returned from work and read the newspaper article, he was so delighted and rejoiced that he asked Madeleine to observe the occasion by going out to a restaurant.
Madeleine accepted. They decide to go to Montmartre. Dinner, nightclub and a show.
On the way back Sergey made a cunning remark.
" Can I invite you to my bedroom? ", and both were so intoxicated that they went into a laughing rave.
" I thought you'll never ask ", giggled Madeleine.
They went in together in Sergey's bedroom. Their relation reached its perfection.
After the successful completion of Madeleine's recital, she was offered a position in the Conservatory as a piano teacher, for first year students, and was given three candidates. In addition, a new programme was created on musicology, which was the study of music of different historical periods. She had the task of researching the development of musical compositions in Western music and giving lectures once a month on the subject.
This was colossal challenge for her and fulfilling at the same time.
Sergey was given an assistant electrician's job at the sight of a newly erected building. He was satisfied that he had an income, but he was unsettled. He wouldn't disclose his aversion to anybody except Madeleine.
" A place on my own will reduce my uneasiness, Madeleine, because I am beginning to feel actually a little like a parasite, not only having free food but also free lodging, do you understand my point of view, my dear, moreover the privacy of our relation, we shouldn't feel culpable when we want to make love. Please tell me you agree with me ".
" I fully understand your point of view, Sergey, I am living in my parents house, without realising the sensitivity of your position. I am very sorry. Why don't we visit Christine in the next few days, Emile knows about rental availabilities, and I haven't seen Victor for a while too, the little rascal, all right? ".
Saint Denis, two and a half kilometres away from Clichy.
A stronghold of Socialist and Communist sympathiser and supporters.
The headquarters of " Les Pages Française ". Emile's domain on the Boulevard de la Commune.
As well as the site of the " Club Commune ", on the same boulevard, where Emile, Christine and Madeleine frequented before the War, and still do occasionally.
Where the theatre " Les Jeunes Parisiens " is located on the Rue de la Républic, where Christine met Emile.
And where Christine, Emile and Victor live, in an apartment on the Rue Jean Jaurés.
How fortunate was Sergey to rent a small, one room, furnished, self-contained flat, a street away from the Geogiou's.
Both Madeleine and Sergey were very pleased. Thanks to Emile.
Sergey made sure on the day of his departure from the Findji's, to have a big bouquet of flowers to Madam Findji, and a bottle of Rum to Papa Findji. He thanked them for their hospitality and their generous reception. And promised them to visit as often as he can.
As much as a commodious life was being built slowly and quietly for Sergey, subconsciously he was not appeased. He was counting the days, the weeks that were passing by and coming closer to the annulment of his residency. What was stored for him next?
Emile's friendly conduct towards him was of great importance. After all he was known in every important political and social circles in Paris, and his humble and modest approach to him was reassuring.
Now that they lived so close to each other, Emile would regularly insist for Sergey to visit him and his family. And of course Madeleine was considered part of their family too.
They would all join at Emile's and have long discussion about the political situations around the world, especially after the War. Emile was always curious about the years Sergey spent in slave labourers' camp.
" I don't wish on anybody to live the way I lived during my imprisonment, because I was treated many times worse than an animal, particularly in the camp, because the factory was a little more humane, since we were producing for the Germans, but I would say, without any antagonism, that I did prefer it more than killing or being killed, I would hope that mankind will make sure that war will not happen again ".
The uncertainty of Sergey's residency in France was a great dilemma for not only Sergey himself, who was terrified of the thought and actuality, but for Madeleine also.
Even Emile, would bring up the subject and to enliven the existing depression, he would joke.
" Sergey ", he would say, " patriotic and nationalistic fever in the Soviet Union is high at the present. You can always return and take advantage of the democratic conditions. Or my dear, why don't you both get married and solve this problem once and for all? seriously ".
Both ideas were very close to Sergey. He really wanted to marry Madeleine and he also had the desire to return to his homeland.
One evening, when Madeleine was not at the Georgiou's, and him and Emile were left alone, Sergey made a proposition to Emile.
" Emile, I need your help. I know that you have affiliations with persons in the Soviet Embassy, here in Paris. Will it be possible for you to find out; of course without giving names, what will be the consequences if I, or any other Prisoner of War returns home? It is true that the new Constitution is guaranteeing democratisation, and civil legality has begun but I want to make sure, I don't want to ask Madeleine to join me if there is no brighter and safer future in my country. Is my request a possibility you can achieve, Emile?"
" Boris Tretyakov is a good friend of mine, he is a liaison, if I am not mistaken with the Cultural Attaché. He visits me quite often; sure, I can ask him, as a fictitious example. But, I tell you what, Sergey, this issue has crossed my mind before, sincerely, and do you know that Madeleine, if so to speak, complies to move to the Soviet union, that itself is an important publicity that the Soviets look for. Anyway, I think we both are speculating for the moment. I will see what I can get out of Boris, all right?"
On the way to his apartment the next day, Sergey bought a bottle of wine. Madeleine was to be there, ahead of him and prepare the dinner. This would happen often, and then they would go to the Georgiou's, to have after dinner drinks and chat away the night.
That particular night, Sergey recounted his conversation with Emile to Madeleine.
Madeleine was not surprised. She jokingly said.
" Well, you better start teaching me Russian, Sergey, let's start with the forbidden words ".
" Ya lioubliou tibia, panimayou?", said Sergey in Russian.
" Sounds so nice ", she said, " There is a musicality in it, say it again, please ".
" I love you darling, nobody will take you away from me ", he said.
" All that in four words ", she gibed, " I love you too, darling, who is taking me away?"
They both laughed. And kissed each other. There was silence for a moment.
" Do you miss your son, Sergey?" suddenly asked Madeleine, " his name is Vladimir, isn't it, beautiful name, sounds like a conqueror ".
" Yes Madeleine, I miss him, maybe because life has become easier at the present, and I have more time to think. When I left him, he was almost four years old, I told him I will make him proud of me, and promised him to return ".
" You haven't said a word about your wife though, do you miss her?"
" No, Madeleine, that part of me has changed, there is a part of life which maintains itself and another which evolves. Love is part of the evolution. You are part of the evolution of my life. And the realisation of this truth has resulted in losing my hold on the past. You are now and forever mine. My love for you is the enlightenment of our future ".
Coming home very tired from work, Sergey decided to have a nap. Madeleine and him were going to the theatre later that evening with the Georgious.
Deep asleep, suddenly he heard the door knocking. " Who can it be? ", he thought, Madeleine has the key. He jumped from the couch, and opened the door. To his surprise Papa Findji was at the door.
" Well, aren't you going to invite me in?, he asked smiling.
" Oh, please, Papa, come in, come in. What brings you here? I hope it is good news ".
" I just had a few hours free, before I head home, I was in the vicinity checking a building site. How are you Sergey? I hear from your boss, he is really happy with your work. He told me the other day that you had a conversation with him about your remaining six months, and that you are contemplating to return to the Soviet Union. Is Madeleine aware of this? Have you told her?"
" Yes Papa, we had a long talk the other night, nothing is final, I am deliberating my options, it will not be easy to stay or to go back. Social and political liabilities are catching up with me.
I am not in a position to tell you what Madeleine will do, that's for her to explain her mind to you and Maman."
" I am a person who tell it like it is, Sergey, we, French people, have the spirit of freedom rooted in our being. We brace Communism, because we are not materialistic. Many turned to Communism because they were patriots, like Emile. When an ideology tells you, " You can give to your ability and will receive according to your need, it is captivating". And so are Madeleine, and Christine and many of their generation. She is well matured to make her own resolutions. I better go home to my wife of thirty-five years. Next Sunday, you and the Georgious are invited at our place from the morning, including dinner. I'll see you then ".
" Goodbye Papa, thank you for your visit, and your wise comments, I'll be there Sunday ".
Back on the couch, Sergey entered in serious thoughts.
" I don't have to do much of persuasion to Madeleine, and I don't think Papa and Maman are opposed to a move, but the most important issue is the safety of my return, and the reception Madeleine will receive and if she will accept the Soviet way of life, which she has no idea of.
Certainly her musical talents are going to play an important part in our life, but will I be pardoned for my desertion, or my falling into the German's hands and all the sinful acts I have committed, according to the Party hierarchy? Who could advise me? Except Emile and his affiliates within the Soviet leadership. Patience, I have to have patience, and hopefully the horizon will clear up ".
He had not heard a word from his son, after sending him the long letter about his circumstances, past and present. Has his son received it, or has it fallen in the hands of the Authorities? Would the Embassy personnel know about his where about? Is he being followed at every step?
" No more ", he reminded himself, " no more, or else I will go insane. Where are you Madeleine? Please come to my rescue. You're the only one who can appease my tormented mind ".
He heard the key turning in the keyhole.
He leaped over to her and embraced her for several minutes.
" Let's get drunk tonight and make love, darling ", he said. " I need you close to me, never live me alone ".
Madeleine had an astonished look on her face.
" What happened, dear, your acting like you are very terrified from something ".
" Yes, darling, from my own thoughts, please don't grin, this is the outcome of years of degradation. I am sorry. I was left alone for a while. I'll be ready in a few minutes ".
One afternoon, at the end of September 1947, Madeleine visited Christine. It was a surprise visit. Christine had just come back from work, after picking up Victor from school.
" Why is this unexpected call for, Madeleine, is everything all right? Asked Christine, in an alarming voice, judging from Madeleine's apprehensive gaze and fearful eyes.
" Well, Christine, I am in front of an immense puzzle. I cannot find the answer myself, so I came to you, my dear, you have gone through what I am going to tell you ".
" Please, dear, sit down, relax, compose yourself, do you want a glass of water? Is anybody hurt?"
" No Christine it is I, who is facing a dilemma. My Menstruation, which was due last week, did not happen. You know what that means ".
" Oh, Madeleine, why are you so bewildered, that's nothing to be in such a panicky state, you're nurturing a new life, Madeleine, that's good news, you remember when I told you I was pregnant, how ecstatic you were. Of course, this one is unauthorised, I am joking, darling, and I don't mean it. You know who the father is, so why are you so much concerned?
" I am immersed in a difficult uncertainty, I am delighted for myself and Sergey, but I am apprehensive about my parents reception, to such a news. Do you understand? ".
" I do, dear, their first reaction will be of rejection, but then they will come up with the idea that, pregnancy must follow with marriage, don't you remember the reason we had a civic marriage, was because I was a month pregnant and I couldn't announce to my parents about our wedding, but everything ended up well? It is your life, have you told anything to Sergey about this? ".
" No, not yet, maybe tonight, that's not easy either with his mind on returning, he might suspect I am trying to keep him here, but he knows I will follow him blindly, he is waiting for Emile to give him the advice he is looking for about his return ".
" I know, Madeleine, Emile mentioned to me Sergey's request. Do you really want to move to the Soviet Union?. I mean, we all admire how the Soviets are trying to built Communism, and we all know it is not easy, but how are we going to get separated, Madeleine, that will be the most difficult part ".
" Christine, don't forget when Emile was in the Resistance, you hardly saw him, and you would do anything for him. I admire Sergey, I love Sergey, besides there is a revival of nationalism in the Soviet Union, the intelligentsia is being given more freedom of expression, at the same time my music career will have more opportunities. Anyhow, whatever I say at the present it is just speculation. Let's see Emile's response, I trust him to death, he wouldn't guide us the wrong direction, right? Meanwhile, did you do anything special, when you found out about your pregnancy? ".
" No, except getting sick in the mornings, and having craves for strange food at strange times of the day. You'll be all right. Take Sergey to dinner, when you make your announcement. I am sure he will be thrilled. Do you have any preference between a boy or a girl? ".
" Not really, since I never thought of getting pregnant, but I'll welcome my baby no matter which sex. I better go, Christine. When Sergey arrives, I will take him out for dinner, I would love to see his reaction. Goodbye, I'll see you tomorrow or the next day, thank you for your support and pointers.
As much as Madeleine showed self-confidence, the appearance of the unexpected was producing a fright and uncertainty within her.
Time, which is so much demanding and exigent, had a heavy load on Sergey's shoulders.
Time, which moves like a thief and takes away all dreams and hopes, so rapidly.
Time, to which we become the victim of, has no mercy or leniency.
Time, finally was catching up with Sergey.
There was only three months left for his residency to expire. And there was no hope of renewing his stay.
During these desperate and frantic days, Emile showed up at Sergey's apartment.
First thing Sergey did, before exchanging any words, was to look at his facial expression, than at the tone of his voice, to detect the state of Emile's report.
" Don't look at me like you're trying to find answers from my silence, Sergey, I'll tell you all if you offer me a glass of wine ".
Sergey opened a new bottle of wine and poured two glasses.
" I hope you have good news, Emile, I have reached a dead end ".
" I like to raise this glass to common sense, Sergey, because what I am going to tell you, will need tremendous courage and immense rational.
" I had dinner last night with Vasily Primakov, who is the Consul General of the Soviet Embassy. I had purposely asked him to join me to dinner, to inquire about your situation. I haven't given your name, but I wouldn't be surprise that the Soviets know things through their own channels. Anyway, the conversation was not only about the fate of a Prisoner of War returning back, but also if a prominent artist wants to migrate to the Soviet union, escorted by a particular Prisoner of War, since the artist is female and pregnant by that person. He, the Consul, didn't hesitate for a moment. He said that at the present the Soviet Republic of Armenia has been organising a migration of their nationals, so the migration of a well-known artist is very much welcomed. As far as the return of the Prisoner of War, first he has to visit the Consulate, register his name, fill up some forms, and accept the full application of the law of the U.S.S.R., in agreement to complete an extensive rehabilitation programme, specifically designed for Prisoners of War.
" I asked him, in a friendly manner, what is involved in the rehabilitation process.
" The emphasis is on convincing ideological programs, he said.
" I asked him if there would be any physical advance. He categorically denied.
" Then, to my surprise, he asked me if I knew the person. And I said I know the couple and I certify for their enormous talents and reassure him, specifically, the prisoner's innocence.
" Why don't they come and visit me, telephone me for an appointment and I will interview them, personally, Emile, he added.
" It was a stimulating evening. My personal opinion is that, he was direct and genuine in his answers and I am confident in his assurances.
" What can you lose? Sergey, talk to Madeleine, she is all excited about the possibilities of a move. There is a child arriving shortly ".
" Emile, you cannot imagine how encouraging is the news you gave me. It appears you had serious conversation with the Consul, you explored every potential hazard related to my return, I am very grateful to you. My suspicions are cleared away. Rehabilitation programs are efforts of relinquishing the political and civil conviction an individual might have, I can give that away invariably, and keep my own believes and opinions to myself introspectively. Thank you Emile, Madeleine and I have to prepare ourselves for the journey to our new home and our new family, the baby is due in eight months ".
" It didn't take much to persuade you, Sergey, you know how strong my sentiments are towards the Soviet Union, I will put my personal authority in motion, for Madeleine and you to have a smooth transition during this momentous move. It will not end by just relying on Vasily Primakov's counselling; before you leave I will try to get in touch with friends, within the Soviet Union. All right?, let's have dinner tonight all of us together, and give the news to Madeleine ".
The decision has been made and the preparations were on their way.
Madeleine and Sergey visited the Consul, Vasily Primakov, who was more than pleased to meet the couple and spent three hours with them, spelling out to them step by step their obligations, including Sergey's " Rehabilitation Program " and Madeleine's impending position in the Moscow Conservatory as Fellow Professor in Musicology, a subject she had mastered the last two years. She would also be assigned to set forth piano lessons, if she wishes.
In addition they were authorised to transport through conveyers, their household goods and their personal belongings, up to four shipping containers, which could be moved by train.
Every day, right after work, Sergey would go the Findji's, and built, on their front yard, three wooden trunks, measured five meter long and three meter wide, each. One reserved for the sofa, chairs and living room furniture. One for the dining table, chairs, china, cutlery and fully furnished kitchenware. And one reserved for the bedroom furniture and everything related to linens and bedspreads, including the baby's cot.
Madeleine and Christine would visit the markets and shop for things they would thing it will be useful, practical and beneficial for the freezing seasons the pair would face.
They had one month left. Madeleine was three months pregnant. There were some concerns for her trip in a pregnant condition. Especially Maman was worried that everything will pile up at the same time, the travel, settling in a new country, and the birth of the baby.
" Darling, why don't you wait until the baby is born and then you can join Sergey, who will be already settled when you arrive there?"
" Maman, there is five months for the baby's birth, I'll be settled by than, besides Sergey will not be able to arrange a fully furnished home all by himself, and I really want to be with him. I know it's not going to be easy, but we will manage ".
" In my wildest imagination, I wouldn't have thought that you would end up leaving home to go to another country, which we don't know anything about, darling, forgive me that I am talking this way, there is a baby growing in your womb, you will know how I feel later, when the baby grows and leaves home. I will pray for you, every minute of the day, for God to give you strength and patience ".
" Maman, please don't be concerned and get fearful about my departure, I will let you know every movement I will make, I promise, I love you Maman, I want you to know that I am happy ".
" It's all right, my love, I will be quiet and I will try to be calm, so that I can give you strength. I am cutting and sewing dresses for you and for the baby, at least till he or she will be two years old. If you need anything special you have to tell me now, there is not much time left ".
" Thank you , my beautiful Maman, you don't know how I appreciate, your kindness, thank you. Christine and I have been going to the clothing shops and I bought a lot of discounted clothes, for the baby and myself. What you have been sewing, are dresses that are costly and unique, I will wear them for special occasions or to go to work. I will always remember you, when I wear the clothes you made ".
Papa was in the next room when all this conversation was happening, between mother an daughter.
" How admirable it is to hear my daughter talking to her mother with such respect and love. We are not going to hear your voice after a while, we are going to miss you, my beloved daughter, your mother is right, we never imagined that you will leave us one day with a person you say you love. I know, I used to say that to your mother. Just remember that we are not going to be in this world for much longer, meanwhile anytime you will need us, we will come to your help, no matter where you are. I say things, and then I realise that where your going is a place I don't have much knowledge about. Forgive me, my love, we love you too much, and we are losing our heads, by being separated from you. We still have a month to enjoy you, and then you'll be gone. I have a terrible heartache ".
Sergey left his apartment two weeks ahead of their departure, to spend time with the Findji family, and do the final packing.
They had nicely, tightly loaded three huge trunks, containing all their belongings. They were going to be shipped also, by train, a week after their departure, following their arrival to their imminent home and locality, which was given to them by Vasily Primakov, the Consul General of the Soviet Embassy in Paris.
Sergey had neatly painted their names and address on the four sides of all the trunks, to make certain of their destination and to avoid any loss of property.
Mr. & Mrs Alexandrov
225 Gostinichnaya Ulitsa
In the evening edition of the " Les Pages Française ", Emile, had a half a column article, wishing Madeleine Findji a safe farewell and a successful and flourishing future in her career, adding a diplomatic twist to the occasion by illustrating the Soviet good will, in being the benefactors of the migration. He had to pay his dues and assure a safe future for Madeleine.
There was no mention about Sergey. As far as Emile was concerned, he was not totally convinced that the Soviets would let him live in peace. But this was a personal conviction and he would not dare to express himself on this subject.
The date of the departure was settled. September 25, 1948. The train tickets were bought.
Christine, Madeleine and Victor would spend every hour of the day together at the Findji's.
Maman and Papa had become chronically melancholic. But they wouldn't show their grief, not to upset Madeleine. She appeared cheerful. She had barrowed a few books from the library, through Christine, about the history of Russia and the formation of the Soviet Union, the Revolution and so on, and would question Sergey about some facts and motives
" I can envision our attendance at the anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution, Sergey, we will be in Moscow by then. Have you been at the anniversary before?"
" I have lost count Madeleine, it is as important as the New Year ".
Before the last day, Papa Findji invited the Georgiou family and Sergey to an exclusive dinner. They were all very ecstatic and gloomy in different intervals. When the conversation would turn on their departure, they all became dismal and sombre. When the conversation was about Madeleine's pregnancy, they were all glad and elated.
Then, Papa Findji raised his glass and a total silence towered the group.
" I have been trying not to spoil an evening of this magnitude. But as a responsible father, I like to raise one subject tonight, about which I want an honest promise from Sergey, in front all of us. We never objected Madeleine's pregnancy, but as parents, Maman and I, expect an official matrimony to be performed, at your convenience, without any delay. This honourable act will make us tremendously contented and blissful. I raise my glass to that noble day ".
" I promise, Papa, your wish will be fulfilled, the moment we arrive in Moscow ".
On the Twenty Fifth of September 1948, at the Gare de l'Est, Madeleine and Sergey surrounded by Papa and Maman and the Georgious, were embracing, hugging each other and crying uncontrollably. All of them had tears running down their faces. It was a very sad and sorrowful moment of separation. A heartbreaking scene. Neither of them could think about the inevitable departure.
All the hopes and dreams that were built around their daughter, their friend, suddenly were over. It was difficult to understand the meaning of what was happening.
Suddenly, the train blew its deafening whistle. It was the wake up call.
The Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs through Central and Eastern Europe to Moscow in two days, was ready for the journey.
Sergey and Madeleine were in the sleeper coach. Waving goodbye from their window.
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