Jérome Sautier & Joaquín Navarro
excellent and perfectly met every philosophical challenge. While I thought our different
opinions were complementing, Frederic, I realized many years later, thought they were
separating us. However, at that time we felt attached to each other. Although, I also realized
this later, this bond was mainly based on a physical attraction. With the months we had become
very close. One day Frederic left the town without announcing it. This was the first cut. We
should have gone our own ways. But we were young, enthusiastic and immature.
We exchanged letters. Meanwhile I had returned home and had started to work. Our letters
were exalted. We glorified the past and ardently cherished hopes for the future. We cherished
illusions. I invited Frederic to stay with me for a while. He accepted and he moved to my town.
Yet he refused to stay in my house. I reluctantly agreed to it. But I understood we had to start
anew. We often met and I felt perfectly happy. I had not yet realized that I had deceived
myself. Much of my time was occupied with the duties at court. And I entirely trusted my
friend. Now and then he denied my invitations, yet I had no feelings of distrust. I became
suspicious when he refused to meet me in town. I found out he concealed our relationship. I
finally realized that he withdrew from me yet was unable to break up entirely. And finally he
confessed to me that he had fallen in love with a woman and that he was dating her regularly,
that he had already asked her to marry him and that she had happily agreed.
Within a few minutes my life went to pieces and the sun went down in the blink of an eye. I
could have accepted it maybe, had he spoken to me earlier. What hurt me most was that he had
left the door open. He freely admitted that he would have returned, had his plans with the girl
failed. I sent him away. I was not able to speak to him any longer. I wanted him to get out of
my sight. I wanted him to get out of my life. I felt deceived, offended, hurt and betrayed. My
heart was broken and my life turned upside down. I plunged into work to reassure myself. I
pushed aside every thought of him. And finally I had restored my life.
Soon after this final cut I was sent to Paris as the sovereign’s attaché. For years I had longed to
see this place. Paris. When I had spoken of Paris, I had spoken of liberty and independence, of
progress and improvement. Again I felt disappointed. This city, by no means, was the centre of
revolution. It was a place of folly and silly amusements.
I had based my life on enthusiastic ideals. My efforts had resulted in betrayal and
disappointment. Had I failed entirely? With a sudden clearness of mind I realized that
everything had changed the day I had met Joaquín. The darkness had gone. My past had no
meaning to me any longer. And like I was able to overcome my past, so was he. I had suffered
from a broken heart. But my heartache was nothing compared to the pain and guilt Joaquín
carried in his heart. He had come from abroad, New Spain. And he had been sent to Paris for
only one reason. He was after a man who, when Joaquín had found him, would never return.
When I met him, his task was nearly completed.
Chapter 3: Broken Vows
We stood by the window and he had captured my lips for another kiss. Now he looked into my
eyes and I glanced back, looked back into his dark and fiery eyes. He looked at me a long time.