A sombre piece triggered by an item in the news last week…
The gendarmerie were first on the scene. Soft insistent voices, urging her to hang on.
Hang on? To what? Why?
‘What’s your name. Mademoiselle? Can you hear me.’
‘Marie. Marie De la Frontielle.’ It was as much as her body allowed. She felt so tired.
‘We’ll have you out soon.’
Out? Doctor Martine’s face floated into her vision. His words measured, serious. Trapping her with the diagnosis. No ‘out’, not for her. Not now. Her body was her prison.
‘It’s like an ice rink out here. Why was she going so fast?’
She always went fast, the ice always her friend: spins, Lutzes, toe-loops, Salchows, nothing stopped her. The applause. Rippling over her, holding her up, making her fly.
‘How long will the Peripherique be shut, do you think? She’s stopped everything for miles.’
‘Who’s the driver?’
‘That figure skater? She was in the Winter Olympics?’
‘Her? The one…?’
‘Yeah. Fell twice. Never happened before. Her chance of the title. Tragic.’
Tragic? Falling on ice isn’t a tragedy. Even twice. Even losing a final. It’s not being able to stand up afterwards, that’s going to be her tragedy.
‘Do you think she meant it?’
‘No, this. Looks like she crashed deliberately.’
‘Why’d she do that? No, the conditions are awful and she’s only young. A star. Whole life ahead of her. Why’d she want to do this?’
Once that was true. Before Doctors and tests and MS. That’s when she had a life.
‘You think she’ll survive?’
Please, no, not that. I wanted to live; surviving isn’t enough.
‘It’d be a tragedy if she does. Look at her legs.’