French first place – I Loved her

I loved her

« One has to want to live and to know how to die », Napoleon.

I loved her.
That’s why I did it. That’s the only reason. I knew what would happen to me… the alarms, the hysterical reaction of the medical team, her father’s screams…Still I did it because I loved her. At least I know her mum understands me. I know that because I saw the
tears of gratitude gleam in her eyes.
While some treat me as if I were a murderer, others have taken me as the standard-bearer of their cause. But all I did was love her, no more, no less.
And I did what I had to do. What everyone who loves someone should do when their loved one is held
prisoner: set them free!
Emma’s body had become her prison. A prison deprived of light and life, without even the room for
thought; a prison that no-one can escape alone, a prison in which nothing at all is left to us – except a
heart which, as it always had, strove to beat slowly… with diffculty… Yet somehow it kept beating,
fuelled by the memories of a life flled with passion. A life which no longer was.
Emma had waved her hand gently to say goodbye while a smile lit up her face.
It was a June day and the sun was shining high in the sky, illuminating our youth and light-heartedness;
oh how it made our eyes sparkle. She waved her hand gently to say goodbye and I watched her disappear
around the corner of the street and I was smiling too, grinning like a child.
I was the frst one to call the emergency services when I heard the impact of the car and I saw her body
hurled over the burning hot tarmac.
While waiting for them, I saw her disappear for good, telling her how much I loved over and over again.
Her golden hair oozed with blood as I ran my shaking hand through it.
I saw the faint glimmer in her eyes gradually die out. A faint glimmer that was never to return.
And yet the doctors said they had saved her. But it wasn’t not true.
They sentenced her to be nothing more than the dark shell of a body that used to be so full of life – a mere
shadow of her shadow – and this for the rest of her existence, an existence which would never mean life
again.
The apparent miracle of a beating heart made it impossible for Emma’s father to decide to “switch her
off”, despite his daughter’s wish – which left no doubt – and despite the wish of his wife, who had never
before spoken up.
Day after day Emma was decaying before our eyes, flled with futile tears).
Her body was nothing but devastation: once so beautiful, her face had forsaken its Mediterranean
complexion and taken on a pallid whiteness; her almost childish blue eyes were now deathlike, half-closed
and invisible.
She was no longer the one she had been: she was no longer the young and pretty blonde with long hair,
the young girl full of joy and laughter. She was nothing now. Nothing but an unmoving body hooked up
to a computer which was breathing in her stead. A computer which could make her “live” but not think,
laugh, let alone love… A computer which simply kept her from dying.
That is why I tore out those cables during her sixth night there. I gave her back her freedom and I let her
go.
We had already lost her. We were just prolonging her death, not her life. The machine, the doctors and
her father just made her death pangs last longer.
Now that her heart has stopped beating, I don’t know where she is. However, if there is a heaven above,
my only certainty is that she is an angel amongst angels there. Before they came to arrest me, I kissed her
cold lips one last time, my eyes shut. In doing so I had hoped to feel some life and joy in her again. I
wished I could be with her again. I used to live through her eyes, and I fancied that when they closed
never to open again, it only would be fair that I should depart with her. But in life nothing is fair.
I can see her disappear again around the corner of the street. I can see that smile again on those same lips,
a smile for which I would have moved heaven and earth, a smile which was given to me freely.
Not once do I regret what I did on that night. In no way am I a murderer. The murderer cut down a
fower in full bloom, pulled off its petals and drove away after scattering them on the tarmac. If he hadn’trun her over, I would still be able to see her smile, her eyes, her joy, and I would still be able to hold her
in my arms.
But today she only smiles in my heart and in my memory. And through the bars of a gloomy prison-cell I
see again the vision of the beautiful young girl she will remain forever. And in turn she sets me free.
Thanks to her smile and to the memory of a love stronger than us both, poor beings of fesh and blood,
she allows me to break free. A love which had an uncanny, divine, magical and unfathomable touch. A
love which