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Found and Lost again - A woman’s journey to the barricade and back

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It was on a autumn day of 1831 when Adrienne visited her friend Caroline at her new place. She recently got married and moved into this stately Parisian home where she now received her. Her husband was out of the house that day, so there were just the two friends sitting together, drinking some tea and tasting some sweets, while discussing the most various topics that came to their minds.

“Caroline, I don’t know, but currently I feel like there is not enough space for me at home. There is so much pressure on me from my family. Yesterday my mother approached me and said that even my youngest cousin now is meeting with a lovely gentleman and will soon celebrate her engagement. And she is only 23 and I am about to turn 26 next month. But I just don’t feel ready to this.”, said Adrienne with a heavy sigh.

Caroline tried to comfort her friend: “Don’t let yourself be pressured too much. That is not healthy. I am sure that there is someone out there who is the right person for you to spend your life with. And he will enter your life just at the right time.This is what happened to me now. I also had serious doubts for quite some time, if I will ever get married. But all these vanished as soon as I met Philippe.”

“This is exactly what I say, too. If they would listen to me. I don’t want to marry a man just to get married. If I want to marry someone, it must feel right to do so. For me a marriage should not be some sort of social obligation or something like that, but rather a commitment that arises as consequence of the feeling that two human beings share and which implies that they want to spend the rest of the lives together. And I don’t think that such a thing will spark when you use force to initiate it.”

“You are right. That’s why I said: don’t let yourself be stressed by the expectations of your family. And if they pressure you too hard, try to persuade them that this is counterproductive.”

“I will. There are just so many unanswered questions in my life. I don’t know what shall become of me, and I feel like my life is being pushed into the wrong direction. I don’t want to lose the control of my life. I don’t want other people to decide my fate, but live my own life. I don’t want to be liberated from the role of being someone’s daughter just by becoming someone’s wife at the same moment. Why can’t I just be myself for once? I don’t want to lose my freedom.”

“I understand what you mean. And that is totally legitimate. I don’t know if this comforts you, but I don’t feel like I am unfree or anything. Philippe is very understanding. During the week he is mostly in his office, so I am at home alone and dispose over my time freely. And during the weekend and sometimes also in the evening he takes me to the theatre or to a concert. I have learnt so much because of him about music and drama.”

“That’s nice, Caroline, but I think men like him are rare…”

“As I said, everything will come at the right time. Now please try this delicious raspberry pie and and let us talk about something more encouraging…”

Adrienne took a spoonful of the pie and confirmed afterwards:"This is indeed delicious!"

They had talked about this and that, when Adrienne shared another thought that she wondered about:

"There is also one more thing that I keep thinking about these days, while I feel so alienated from my own family and my home. What if there was someone out there whom I could relate to. I keep thinking about my unknown brother a lot these days..."

"I see. And do you think that he could be the answer to your crisis in life?"

"Somehow yes. I can't get rid of the feeling that it might be the fact that I know that there is a brother of mine out there, that makes me feel incomplete."

"So what do you plan to do now?"

"I don't know. For now I never had the courage to even think about how it would be if I knew him in some way. Because I don't want to disappoint my mother. I don't want to reveal her family secret and get her into trouble and possibly myself as well. So I arranged myself with the idea of never getting to know him. But these these days I can't forget about him somehow..."

"Well, I am pretty sure that there is other ways to get to know him, without telling him immediately that you are his sister."

"You are right. I am not even sure if he knows that he has a sister. So maybe he would even not believe me. And yet, I keep asking myself what he is like as a person..."

"As I said, I think there are certainly ways to discover his personality without revealing him how you two are related at first sight... What do you know about him?"

Adrienne thinks about this question for a moment and then says: "I know that he is called Julien Enjolras and that we have the same dad, who is also called Julien Enjolras. Besides that he is said to look quite similar to me. He has blonde hair and blue eyes, just like me. And he comes from the same city my family comes from. And he studies law here in Paris."

At this mention Caroline's eyes started to beam: "I have an idea! Maybe I could ask my brother if he knows him. After all he studies law as well..."