lunedì 15 ottobre 2018


About some aspiring parents and an unfulfilled dream 

A propos d’un couple qui aspire à devenir parents et d’un rêve non réalisé 
A proposito di una coppia che aspira a diventare genitori e di un sogno irrealizzato

short story written in 1950, Maigret’s Christmas provides bittersweet looks at the Maigrets as a childless couple. Inside their apartment on Christmas Day, one finds both of them on edge emotionally. He feels “an exceptional sensitivity,” and she is “more easily affected than usual.” As the story evolves, a little girl across the street captures their attention. Six-year-old Colette lies bedridden with a casted broken leg in the apartment of her adoptive aunt and uncle—her mother is dead and her father is a homeless drunkard. 
The Christmas moment reveals the Maigrets to be intensely sentimental. Her gentle question “Are you happy?” awakes his inner self: “Shush! […] One was not allowing him the time to think about how they were an old couple without anyone to spoil on this Christmas morning.  Suddenly faced with an evolving drama, the Maigrets work together on it. “This investigation was definitely unfolding in the most familial way.” Indeed, she is as involved as he is“Do you think something else will still happen?” They are worried about Colette’s plight in particular: Madame Maigret sighs, “I wonder if that little girl over there is happy and for her personal satisfaction, she adds, “I don’t think she could be with that woman, referring to Colette’s aunt whom she recognizes as uncaring and both distrust. “Gosh, Maigret, aren’t you frightened for the little girl? Do you think she’s safe with that woman?” It takes Maigret a bit longer to recognize it was a question of the little girl” and that “she was the only one in the case that concerned Madame Maigret,” but he arrives at the same point: “I’m concerned about it, too.” Their interest in Colette’s well-being stands out as they help her down-and-out father. Maigret guides him in shaping up and takes him across the street to his daughter“Come with me. […] Your place is beside Colette. And Madame Maigret sends him off with a Christmas present, a gold thimble. “He cannot go empty-handed to see his daughter on a Christmas day!” These generous actions hint the rehabilitated father and abandoned girl may eventually reunite. 
Meanwhile, the Maigrets dream of another possibility, that is, adopting Colette as their own! Madame: “If something happened to that woman... […] I’m thinking about the little one. I wonder what would become of her.” Ten minutes go by in reading and knitting until Maigret exclaims: “You’ve never even seen her!” Later on, after he crosses the street and comes back, Madame jumps up and asks: “You’re all alone? Didn’t you bring the little one back?” Maigret explains: “Not tonight. She’s sleeping. […] Tomorrow morning. You can go and get her. Madame: “Really?” Maigret: “I’ll send you with two nurses and a stretcher.” Madame: But then… Are we going to?” Maigret: Shush! Not forever, do you understand?” However, sadly for both of them, the fantasized adoption will never come to pass. Madame Maigret realizes: “In short, she will not be ours?” Maigret concurs: “Not ours, no. Only borrowed. I thought that would be better than nothing and you’d be happy.” Madame: “Of course, I’d be happy. But… But…” And so, the dreaming ends: “She sniffled, looked for a handkerchief, did not find one, and buried her face in her apron.” 
David P Simmons 

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