I was all alone, as usual, when I saw God come to get her. Cosette, my best friend, taken away. I thought I'd never see her again.
My mother and father, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, were theives and just taking enough money to feed myself, my sister, Azelma was her name, and our newest baby brother, Gavroche.
Now, Papa didn't have much liking for Gavroche, his own son, due to the ailing cries until three in the morning. Azelma kept her distance because "he smelled" . She said it, not me.
Maman didn't have a lot of love for the new boy either. "You girls never screamed. Why a boy? Why!" It was as if Baby Gavroche was a poisonous snake, much less than their own son and brother.
Cosette was our maid, ish. Her mother was named Fantine. She lived somewhere in Paris. Cosette always kept high spirits even though she was sick and dying. My parents were cruel and continued forcing her to work in the cold. I'd helped her with her chores. The two of us took care of Gavroche for a year until she developed pneumonia. I prayed that she'd live, as she was my best friend. But I didn't want her to keep living this way.
In the movie, Les Misérables, Cosette is taken away from the Thenardiers and lives with Valjean until she falls in love with Marius. Eponine is constantly "On her Own" and dies to protect Marius in the French Revolution. Then, Marius forgets her and marries Cosette. Happily Ever After? No, don't worry. Valjean dies in the end to make everyone even more miserable. REMEMBER: THIS IS NOT THE REAL STORY OF LES MISERABLES!
Cosette died a week later. Everyone started getting sick afterwards. Both Azelma and Maman died from the influenza later in the month. We couldn't afford medicine since Fantine died in the street trying to earn money and couldn't pay us. Papa took me and Gavroche to Paris where we'd be safe.
"Safe from what, Papa?" I asked.
"From the police, Eponine," he said.
When we were halfway to Paris, we stopped to get food. Gavroche saw a butterfly and let go of my hand to touch it. Papa grabbed me and threw me in the boat. Gavroche was running towards us.
"Papa! Stop the boat! Gavroche isn't here!" I cried.
"That's his fault."
"What the hell is wrong with you? He's your son!"
Papa struck me across the face with that remark.
"With that attitude, I'll throw you over there too."
I was so furious that I wrenched my arm out of my bastard father's grasp and lunged for Gavroche. My brother was staring at me wide eyed. His five year old mind tried to process that Papa didn't want him. I climbed up onto the path.
"Gavroche, don't worry. We'll never see that mean man again." I said it in my big sister ten year old voice.
In my head, like Maman taught me to think about Papa, I whispered to myself, What a goddamn asshole.
🇫🇷 Five years later 🇫🇷
I was just myself. I had moved across the street from the Monsieur Madeleine and I couldn't be more bored. His house was so beautiful. And then, there was mine.
I noticed Monsieur Madeleine bring a young girl into his home. She was crying uncontrollably. He had a hand on her shoulder and her hair was all messed up.
I was seventeen years old and thinking about the heated government arguments between the King and Monsieur Lamarque. I wanted to fight for the Republic and bring France back to justice.
When I saw the girl go inside, I waited a few minutes. It might be nice to know the neighbors. Even if it was the mayor.
I then saw her come back out to a boy who looked about twelve years old and she brought him inside. I looked over at my friend, Enjolras, and noticed he was asleep on the chair.
I took a bag of warm chestnuts and some hot coffee over to the nearby house after about ten minutes.
When I knocked on the door, Monsieur Madeliene answered.
"Bonjour, Monsieur la mairé."
"Bonjour," he replied.
"I noticed a young girl enter your home with another child. I brought chestnuts and warm coffee for both of them. May I enter, Monsieur?"
"Yes," he gestured for me to come inside his palace of a house.
"Eponine!" He called out.
Eponine, I thought. Is that her name? She had dark brown hair and her eyes were gorgeous. She wore a white dress that flowed down to her shoes. It was ornate with many different laces from Paris, I think.
At that moment, the boy rushed in. His wild hair was dirty blonde, and his eyes were green like the girl's eyes.
"How do you do, Monsieur?"
"I am well, Mademoiselle. Who is this boy, here?"
"This is my younger brother, Gavroche."
"How do you do?" The boy had a smile plastered on his face.
"I am well, Gavroche," I said. The boy was so lively.
The mayor asked me to come with him and the girl put the bags of chestnuts and the coffee in the kitchen.
"Marius, do you support Lamarque?" He asked me.
"Yes, Monsieur Madeleine."
"That is good. He will bring France back to justice."
At that moment the girl reentered and sat down next to la mairé(this means the mayor).
"I believe," she said, "that Lamarque will bring France to be a Republic. It is wrong when the king becomes an overweight louse while the people of France thin themselves to death from starvation."
I nodded. Gavroche came back into the dining room.
"I'll fight with you, Monsieur. You, myself, and Lamarque will be the battle heroes of the French Revolution!"
I laughed a little.
"I doubt I'll be the hero. You deserve the Honor, Gavroche. You have already earned it."
The boy smiled and I stood.
"Avoir, Monsieur," I said. The girl followed me out.
"Monsieur! You've forgotten your coat!"
I smiled at her and said, "Keep it, Mademsoiselle Madeleine. You are a fine lady." I took her hand and kissed it. After walking away to my house, I watched her look after me, leaning against her gate of the house, wearing my jacket.
He had given me his jacket. His jacket! All of the greatest love stories start out like that. I wasn't sure and I didn't want to assume things, but I'll bet that for me it was love at first sight.
"What's wrong with you?" asked Gavroche. He looked new, in a coat and a new suit. He and I roamed the streets of Paris until Monsieur la maíre found us. He took us in and now I was in love with the boy that had come over. The boy across the street.
"Nothing's wrong, Gavroche," I said.
"Are you sure? You staring out in space like a teenager lost in love."
"Well, I'm not in love, Gavroche. I just feel weird. Like, I don't know, different? You know what I mean."
"Just because you go from urchin to Monsieur la maíre's adopted kid doesn't necessarily mean different is word choicing there. Try out of the ordinary for a change, or maybe even exciting."
"Maybe," I said.
I felt my hand go into the pocket where his hand once was. I felt a slip of paper. It was a note.
Mademoiselle Madeleine, will you join me for a walk through Jardins de Luxembourg at 11:16 tomorrow afternoon? I would deeply appreciate it.
-Monsieur Marius Pontmercy
¡Víve la France! ¡Víve Lamarque!
God Bless You.
How strange, I thought. This feeling that life's begun at last.
He'd left me a note! In his jacket!
This change, can people really fall in love so fast?
Oh, dear God, I'd never felt more happy in my life!
What's the matter with you, 'Ponine? I asked myself. Have you been too much on your own?
I thought that in my head so many things were unclear and unknown. No answers, but complete happiness.
And then, I felt like singing. So, I did.
"In my life, there were so many questions and answers that somehow seemed wrong. In my life, there are times when I catch in the silence the sound of a faraway song. And it sings, of a world that I long to see! Out of reach, just a whisper away, waiting for me! Does he know I'm alive? Do I know if he's real? Has he seen what I saw? Does he feel what I feel?"
I leaned against the tree with his note in my hand.
"In my life, there is no one like him anywhere. Anywhere, where he is. And if he asked, I'd be his."
And then, I heard his voice from down the street. He was leaned against his house. He was singing, but to himself.
"In my life, she has burst like the music of angels, the light of the sun. And my life, seems to stop as if something is over, but scarcely begun. Oh, Madame Madeleine! She's the girl that has brought me here. Thanks to her, I am one with the Gods and Heaven is near! And I soar through a world that is new, that is free!"
I gasped and smiled to myself.
"Every word that he says," I sighed, "is a blessing to me! In my life, there's still no one like him, anywhere. There he is. If he asks, I am his."