Day 0 of The Black Journal is the day before Aimée Duchemin and her friends' departure to Irinie. Here Aimée packs her journal and takes a trip to Point-Neuf, and she and Sylvain spend the night in Sybil's and Térence's house.
A new land is calling my nameEdit
"There's nothing much for me to hold on to, apart from high school memories, memories of a family which I ultimately never had…"
"What about your friends? Don't you have any, apart from these?"
"I do, and I can always get in touch with them. I know it. Indeed, back in Sauveterre I always told myself to be thankful for the roof over my head, for meals on the table, for everything that I've got. I'm not saying that I should be an ingrate, but oftentimes, there's been nothing for me to look forward to. I want to spread love to others but I'm restrained from doing so, and it seems that the people closest to home are selfish and only want my love for themselves. Well, so it seems. I'm not going to judge them as people, but their actions speak louder than anything else."
"You are not allowed to keep in touch with any of your friends! Do I make myself clear?"
"All the more reason for me to go away. If you're gonna be this selfish, let me tell you in the face, 'somebody-I-don't-know', you don't deserve my love. You'd better be thankful that I'm loving you come what may. Because when I go away, you'll feel the pain of my loss for a long time."
"Ani Suring sent you to OUR house back when you were a defenceless little child!"
"Ani Suring is of MY lineage, mind you! She entrusted me to you because she knew she was going to die. So much for her trust; I don't even think you did a good job."
"Look here! I held the fort here for nineteen years straight! I work hard to earn money for everyone's welfare! I practically do everything! I don't deserve this crap!"
"Go on, go on. Consume yourself in self-righteousness. I don't give a damn about your money. Because if you're gonna hold me in bondage, you'll have made a child in your own undertaking clinically insane for the rest of her life."
My mind was a mess. I was in a total blur. In the midst of all these voices I could hear Irène calling me from several hundred miles away…
"Come, Aimée, come.
"Your name means beloved, and it's only right if we treat you as one of our own. Let me take you in my arms and cherish you."
I started to cry. Irène's voice was like a mother's voice, gentle and compassionate, coaxing me to come to her.
I took out an empty book, with a black cover and black sheets. It was the one Erroll and Llyr gave me. I started to draw. I was pretty much blinded by my tears for the most part. After regaining my composure, I took a look at the book. It turned out to be what looked like a student concert in a varsity hall, with lots of students cheering from the lower and upper levels. Confetti was thrown all over, and there were polystyrene stars painted with silver paint (of the glitter kind, not the metallic kind). I was singing on stage, backed up by a team of backup singers and dancers. Chances are that they might be my friends. I don't know. I resolved to keep that picture on the front page of that book. I signed my name and placed the book on the table.
It was at that cold, stormy night, in the corner of my room that I decided to chase my dreams in Irinie. It was there that I decided that the little black journal would be a great book for me to record all the things that I yearn to do, all the things that I should do in love.
I decided to call the Françaix siblings and ask how they were keeping, but the line was dead.
I tried Sylvain Dieudonné. The line was dead too.
Maybe… they've got problems of their own too. Or maybe… they want to go to a land far, far away, just like I do. I wanted to yell at my "father's" face and tell him that I'm boarding the train to Point-Neuf, but then again, I've always loved people too much to do such a thing. Truly, if they don't deserve my love, they don't deserve it. I'm just loving them come what may because this is my calling.
It was strange that all the letters I received from my friends were written in a depressed tone. I packed my things and resolved to see my friends. I bade farewell to my family and friends in Lumine and took a transit to Point-Neuf, where Sybil, Térence and Sylvain were waiting.
And when I had arrived there, I found them waiting at the station for me. I was overjoyed to see them. Sybil took me in her arms, followed by Térence, and Sylvain. I felt like I had to ask them why they were so eager to leave Point-Neuf when it's much less of a madhouse than Lumine.
"So, what makes you wanna leave?" I asked.
"Ever since we returned from National Service, things have taken a turn for the worse in Point-Neuf, with all the politicking and no implementation of policies. It isn't the paradise we once knew. Our parents want us to seek a place where we can all live, and they're telling us to go ahead. I know the standard of living is rather low in Sauveterre, and I think it's best if we leave," Sybil replied.
"And what about you, Sylvain?"
"Hmph! Parents! All they ever do is screw up with their lives just because their parents made decisions for them, and then because they have broken dreams, they place it on the shoulders of their children so that their children can be what their parents want them to be. They want me to sit here and become an engineer; they're hampering all that I've ever dreamed of. And all that they're making me do is perpetuate the cycle of despair. If I keep on being burdened by what they ask me to do… I'll end up like them, passing my dream to my child, and I won't be aware of whether he really wants to do it or not. I've had enough. I want to seek a new life," Sylvain retorted.
I stopped at Sylvain's words. They were quite true. In truth, I want to sing. I want to make music and be the very person who touches people's hearts, who unites them. But no – all the people at home want me to stay and become a businesswoman. I've had it with the corporate life, I've had it with their bickering and nagging, and most of all, I need a life. And the whole purpose of living isn't to be subject to what people think is destined for us. In life, we have thousands of choices. No one in my school ever dares to take the plunge and become a musician. I know my potential; I'm very well acquainted with the talent the Lord has given me, and I want to use it to the full. If I'm going to be subject to their rules all the time, I'm going to put my talent AND my entire life to waste! What the hell do they think I am?
We all went to Sybil's house to stay the night. There, we devised a plan.
"We'll take a train from here and head over to the Bloomingvale station in Irinie," said Sylvain. "I know we're practically starting with nothing, but we have to take all our belongings with us and find a place to stay, a place to work and food to eat. We'd probably be starved sick during the first few weeks, so we might as well stock up on food and drink."
"You're not taking any pocket money with you?" I asked.
"Sybil and I have our earnings from the restaurant we're helping to run, so I guess it isn't so bad. What about you? Sylvain? Aimée?"
"I only have…… 457 bucks," I replied. "I guess it's not going to be worth much when we change it in Irinie, but I have to start somewhere."
"I'm worse, I only have some 200 bucks," Sylvain replied.
This is my chance, I thought. This is the chance for me to live my dreams, to be the person I want to be. I know this is going to take a while, but I can see it coming.