DISPATCHES FROM PARIS: MERCI POUR CE MOMENT

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In case you haven’t been able to get your hands on Merci pour ce moment (English: Thank You For This Moment), Valérie Trierweiler’s sellout tract about President Hollande, herself and her feelings, here it is, accelerated and reduced in the first available English translation.


Photo courtesy of Charles Platiau/REUTERS.

I

No choice but to take up the pen. I didn’t smash the crockery AS WAS ALLEGED when FH told me, on the bed, in the Elysée apartments, about Julie Gayet. Does a real man in charge of a country have an affair with an actress – that’s actress, not actor – when factories are closing and unemployment is rising?

Flashback: Bad conversation with FH about Julie Gayet. I swallow some pills. Men in white coats arrive from La Salpêtrière. I’m taken away. My cellphone’s removed. Five days and still he hasn’t come to see me. (Factories closing? Rising unemployment?) I convalesce in Versailles. I bike a lot (pedal, pedal, pedal). He visits and suggests we separate. Later he insists on that.

I’m from a modest family. We don’t live on overdrafts. My grandfather was not a wealthy banker AS WAS ALLEGED. I worked my way up through journalism to get a job at Paris Match. I moved from political journalism to the books pages when my liaison with FH became public. I love books, and I’m struck by my own generosity: the dreary titles we couldn’t review I donated to the women’s prison at Fleury-Mérogis. I love my children, all three of them.

II

Flashback: he’s bumped me out of the Elysée. I’m crying so much as I leave that an aide offers me a paper handkerchief. But who’s the real Kleenex in this story? Used and discarded? (Note to myself: strong image, hard to develop; maybe just repeat it later.) What crime have I committed? Everyone cried when I left the presidential bolt hole in Versailles. The housekeepers and the two cooks, we all fell about crying. I got wind of the Gayet affair at the start. My thoughts are dark right now but two of my children are sitting their exams. Children are the most important thing. As I write this, I get news that my dog has died – the dog I had when FH and I fell in love in 2005.I had to abandon that dog, and my husband and my children. Flashback: FH and I had the longest kiss, at a crossroads in Limoges. Nine years on, I dry my tears. I’ve been thrown away, I’ll say that again, like a used handkerchief. He’s on the radio now, trying to talk down the Gayet affair. Let me tell you about my career in journalism.

III

Flashback to 2012 and an amazing handover: Carla Bruni shows me round the Elysée. It’s going to be hard, she says. Sarkozy, I think to myself, will be a candidate in 2017: he’ll want to get even. Short on savoir-vivre, FH fails to accompany Sarko out of the premises. My memories are like bubbles rising to the surface.

IV

In Haiti street children with no shoes followed me around and jostled to hold my hand. It took my mind off things. My psychiatrist says people in power quickly lose their sense of limits. The press says FH is still seeing the Gayard woman, but he texts me between lunch with Obama and supper with Putin to deny it. Putin! Espèce de phallocrate! I remember now that FH doesn’t like poor people: he was rude about my family. I know he’s been to Gayet’s parents’ chateau with its 17th-century façades. He prefers mixing with rich people on the left who can’t even tell you the minimum wage. Michelle Obama has long arms like the wings of a swan. In Washington I saw her vegetable garden while FH was dawdling in a Nato conference.

V

They say the liaison with Gayet will soon be official. He texts me to deny it. He says he’s lost everything – his ratings, his bearings – and the last thing he wants to lose is me. He’s the kind of man who buys his shirts in a supermarket. He doesn’t care how he looks. Early on I sorted through his clothes and gave a whole lot to the homeless. I did the same a year or so later after he’d lost 15 kg, thanks to you know who. Have you noticed since we split up he’s, like, corpulent?

I’ve been to Mali with an NGO: a land full of emotion. I’ve been to Congo with an NGO: meeting the most deprived people on earth gets you back to basics. I’d quite like to go to a country at war. I wouldn’t be afraid. My life has lost its meaning. I never AS WAS ALLEGED spent public money on expensive cushions for a presidential pile on the Mediterranean.

VI

He keeps texting that he wants me back but I know better. How can he send me, I don’t know, 29 texts in a day when he’s in cabinet meetings and the rest? I think he’s finished. And if he isn’t, this should do it. I think I’ll call it ‘Merci pour ce moment’. As for lui et moi, we’re definitely history: he threw me away like… I’ve just been to see Lucrèce Borgia at the Comédie Française. Remember Lucrèce’s speech to her husband? ‘You let the people mock me, you let them insult me…’ (it’s something like that). This book was scrawled in my tears, just in time for publication five weeks after delivery. Thank you. 31 July 2014.

PS He told me a) not to write this book and b) that I shouldn’t attend Madiba’s funeral. I say this to the handful of voters who still think he can run a country.

Source.

Speaking of the French President, François Hollande to visit PH in March 2015, first French president to do so since 1947.

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