Mélanie Mercier, née Markowitz
Jean Michel Jakobowicz, ONU
It all started in Tuesday 13 March at 8:24 to be perfectly exact
Like every morning at the same time, I switch on my computer, the first thing I do when I come in my office, even before taking off my coat. A kind of post-modern ritual, which gives me the courage to start a new day. After a quick glance to the mirror which I hide in my closet, I sat down in front of my screen. Just like a pianist before a concert I make some movements with my fingers. I then introduce my password. A message appears on the screen: Good morning Melanie!
Most of them are commercial ads more or less licit. They range from the possibility to get an immediate credit of one thousand dollars without any interest to the possibility to enlarge the penis I dont have.
In fact I hate this message. First because I dont care this totally artificial greeting. I dont see myself giving a big hug to my computer. Second, because I cant take this Anglo-Saxon habit to call people by their christian names. Each time, my first reaction is to tell my computer I havent given you the permission to call me Mélanie!
Another password and I open my mailbox. Like every morning I have received about 50 messages. The problem is to know which ones are really important. Most of them are commercial ads more or less licit. They range from the possibility to get an immediate credit of one thousand dollars without any interest to the possibility to enlarge the penis I dont have. There are also the important messages sent by the relative of a former dictator who wants to share with me ten million dollars that he has inherited from his uncle provided I send him my bank account number.
I was about to erase all these messages when one of them retained my attention. Its title was quite scary: Be careful Melanie, your children are in danger! My heart must have skipped a beat. The word danger associated with my kids gave me immediately a shiver, which went down my spine. I was ready to rush outside or to call their school to see what had happened to my little ones. My hands were shaking when I opened the message.
I had to read it about three times before I was able to realize what was written: Melanie you forgot again to switch off the gas before leaving this morning. Signed A friend who wants to help! I have received hundreds of stupid messages but never such an idiotic one. I was almost relieved that the message was just a joke. However my first reaction was to call the school. The secretary who answered me must have taken me for a complete hysteric when I asked her whether my kids were ok. But I needed her few reassuring words to calm down.
When my fear became anger, I tried to find out who the author of this stupidity was. His or her name was Friend4231 and the address was Friend4231@hotmail.com for a moment I asked myself who could hide behind this enigmatic pseudonym, but very quickly my attention was taken away by a message from my chief sent out the day before at 5:54 p.m. It had been written exactly 2 minutes after I had left my office. Just as if he had been watching me to make sure that I was gone. I suppose to show me that he was staying late in the office. It must have been the climax of his boring day.
My direct chief is Hubert de la Seine a total idiot who does not speak to me since 18 months except by email.
In my haste to share what is happening to me these days, I forgot to introduce myself. As you may have noticed my name is Mélanie with an accent because I am French Mélanie Mercier, born Markowitz. I am 38, divorced since five years. I have two wonderful kids: Benjamin ten and Isabelle eight. I leave currently alone with my two babies in a five room flat in Plainpalais a small district of Geneva.
I work as a deputy chief economist in the projection department of the Organization. My direct chief is Hubert de la Seine a total idiot who does not speak to me since 18 months except by email. As for the director of the department Doctor Wilfred Heman, he considers Hubert de la Seine as a gifted old-fashioned aristocrat, which is totally wrong. The only gifts of Hubert de la Seine are his particles, which I am certain he has stolen somewhere and his incredible stupidity. Heman is surely the only one not to have noticed it.
Get out of here, I shouted to the kids who for once obeyed immediately without arguing. I filled a bucket with water
That evening I didnt stay long in the office. I was anxious to meet my kids. I fetch them at school just before 6 p.m. They were as usual quite excited. Benjamin let me kiss his forehead when he was sure that none of his friends were around. While Isabelle started immediately to tell me all about her day. When we arrived at home she still was telling me all about her morning gym class.
My first feeling when I opened the door of our flat was that it was unusually hot. Then I smelled that something was burning. I ran into the kitchen. The gas cooker and the kettle on it were almost melting. Get out of here, I shouted to the kids who for once obeyed immediately without arguing. I filled a bucket with water and threw it on the burning cooker. A huge cloud of smoke filled the kitchen. I ran to the bathroom and cut off the gas. I then rushed outside in the corridor.
while I wonder whether machismo is a genetic disease or whether my ex-husband is teaching my boy how to become a perfect macho.
Are you ok, asked Isabelle worried? Yes, sweetheart, I answered while my whole body was shaking. I just have forgotten to switch off the gas this morning! Mother, You should be careful, said Benjamin. One day you will burn the whole house. Once in a while I wonder whether machismo is a genetic disease or whether my ex-husband is teaching my boy how to become a perfect macho. In those cases I feel like spanking himwhich I have never done by the way. But this time my sole reaction was to take my little ones in my arm and to give them a good hug.
After calming down the heartburns due to the mere thought of what could have happened if we had come a little bit later that evening, I prepared some sandwiches for diner as the gas cooker was totally out of order.
Once my kids were in bed a got really scared! I started to be obsessed by the message I had received: Melanie you forgot again to switch off the gas before leaving this morning. Signed: A friend who wants to help!
Suddenly the telephone rang! I was totally paralysed. I let it rang a dozen of times before I was able to slowly move.
My first reaction was to check that the door was shut, then I closed the blinds and finally I went into the childrens room to make sure that they were asleep. I then did something which was just a small sign of my anxiety. I took the baseball bat of my son and search my whole flat. I looked everywhere even in the cupboard of the kitchen and under my bed. Once I was done, I sat down on the living room coach. I was totally on edge.
I stayed there frozen during I dont know how long. Suddenly the telephone rang! I was totally paralysed. I let it rang a dozen of times before I was able to slowly move. My hand was shaking as I took off the phone. I brought the receiver to my ear. And I almost started to cry when I heard the voice of my ex-husband.
Jerome and I are still very close to each other. In fact we have split just because our roads had become divergent. That evening I could have kissed him. I was so happy to hear him or at least a friendly voice.
I tried to speak but my sentences were so mixed up that after a while Jerome told me: Calm down Mélanie! Tell me calmly what has happened! I took a large breathing and started my story from scratch. Do you want me to come, asked Jerome when I was finished? I hesitated for a sec and then the fright of seeing my ex-husband in front of me here in my living room was far greater than the story of the Friend who wants to help! Look Mélanie, he said, no panic I take over.
Just relax, he said. I immediately figured out that I had done a mistake. He had this fatherly tone which gets me on the nerves. It makes me feel like a stupid little girl totally unable to handle things by herself. I felt my anger grow and my answer came. Dont worry I can handle it alone. Furthermore, I have a friend who can help me! Well, OK he said quite disappointed!
When I had hung up, I felt the full size of my fears. I was alone, alone with my two babies sleeping next door. (To be continued)