Our story, like so many, begins with a main character.
Her name is Mireille, and she is a writer. A poet, more specifically, one born to a poor family in the south of France.
She spends her days writing poetry and stories, and when she’s not writing, she’s brainstorming. Ideas flood her head, and those ideas become characters, characters she pens as she writes her great stories of life. Those characters start to take form in her life, and suddenly they’re all around her. Not literally, of course, but figuratively - they surround her, they occupy her mind as she thinks. No math class passes without little drawings and writing about the great Acacia or Adrienne, and that’s just the start of the A’s.
She is a dreamer. She has a book, but it’s barely written, just a scrap of an idea. Mostly, she has poetry, and she has characters, the people in her mind who she loves so much.
In French, there are two words for dreams. There’s the dreams that you have when you sleep, le reve, and the daydreams and the dreams of dreamers, la merveille.
La merveille. A marvel. And, similar to her own name, Mireille, meaning to look, to see the future.
A marvel only the strangest of dreams will bring. And yet, there she was. Mireille the Dreamer. Mireille the Wanderer. Mireille the poet.
Or, as the world saw her, just Mireille.
But someday, she wouldn’t be just Mireille. Someday, she would let the rest of the world see the wonders of her mind. Someday, they would meet Azelie.
Azelie, quite obviously, was at the end of the A’s. Mireille found it easiest to name the people in alphabetical order, so she could make sense of who they were, but Azelie was different. She was Mireille’s pride and joy, her prize character. And she was named for the azaleas out back in her yard when she thought of her, when she started to form swimming ideas into a whole separate mind in her own.
Azelie loved Florin, and Florin loved Azelie. But only as friends, childhood friends separated when Florin moved away from their hometown and away to Paris. Still, Azelie cried over Florin while her parents were asleep, staring out the window at the stars, hoping Florin would stare out the window out at the same star as her.
She wrote him a letter, too, a letter in poem form, because Azelie was a poet just like Mireille. She longed to leave Paris, telling herself it was because she wanted a fresh start, but the truth was that she was heartbroken and wanted to find Florin again.
Mireille wanted to go to Paris, too. She wanted to find someone in the streets who could be Florin, and write the final chapter of her book from his point of view, even though she had barely started writing. What she had was a letter, a letter for the opening. She would read it as she glanced out at the stars at night pretending to be Azelie, looking at the messy handwriting from years ago that was barely legible, but she knew by heart.
Do you remember the soft summer sky
The wind in your hair
And at my fingertips?
Do you remember the purples and blues
Mixed with the sea
As the waves touched the sand?
If I were the waves
I could fly above the sky
Sashaying over the sun like the sea to the beach
And maybe then I could see you
Away in the hills
Far, far from me
Do you remember the flowers at dawn
Azaleas, just like my name
Holding onto their own little suns
Do you remember the cottage by the shore
We used to talk there
Laughing and crying
Oh, if I were the sun
I would prance above the hills
But never be able find you
For you would be the moon
And we can only cross paths
Once an eclipse
Do you remember the wind our hair
Swaying with the steady sun
Spinning in the moonlight
Do you remember the sun in our eyes
In your bright, green eyes
Washing away with the clouds
If I were your eyes
I could see the world from your view
But still, never find you
For I would never feel
The wind, the heat, the sea
And only your thoughts
Do you remember the old brick walls
We’d whisper our secrets to
Like an old fairy tale
Do you remember the ivy growing across it
In irregular patterns
Just like our friendship
If I were the ivy
I would let you know
That I remember your secrets
And that Florin means flower
Just like my name
Just like me
Sometimes I wonder
If you remember me at all
And if it was just a dream
Or perhaps a fairy tale
Like the whispers to the wall
Or the sounds of silence
I hope you remember
For I cannot forget
And if I were the waves
Or the sun or the wind or your eyes
Or even the ivy
I would never forget
I could never forget you
And so, I write
And I hope you can never forget me
Her letter. The start of her book. A poem. A dream, even, if one could call it that. But times are hard for dreamers, so she might never be able to go to Paris and be able to write Florin’s perspective. Times are hard for dreamers, especially those stuck in the south of France without the money to make it to Paris and finish a novel, no matter whether it would become a bestseller or not. Times are hard for those people, that strange species we call dreamers. Paris is no longer a great artistic hub, but a hub for the wealthy and the few who have given up their dreams.
Still, Mireille hangs onto the hope that Florin will be wandering through the streets, and she’ll see him and the Azelie in her will just know, know that this was her friend, that all those nights crying to the stars were worth it.
They say her mind is blurred with Azelie’s, but in some ways, Azelie’s mind is blurred with her’s. Perhaps Azelie is the dreamer. Perhaps Azelie is but a reflection in the mirror, a mirror kept in her mind, under lock and key. Perhaps she is Azelie, and she is Florin, and everyone in her mind is but a reflection of her.
She will never know. All she knows is the azaleas in the sunrise and the stars disappearing at dawn. All she knows is that Mireille means to look, and as a dreamer, that’s all she can do.
And that Florin means flower, just like Azelie. Just like herself.
And lastly, that times are and will always be hard for dreamers.
But that will never stop her.