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Jury Selection

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The hands of the clock are ticking. Any minute now, thinking time will be over. But I still need a few moments to clarify the situation.

I know very well that this is not the time to prevaricate and that you think I have had quite enough time already. Those who know me say I am always hesitant. I know I am and I am perfectly well aware that I am slow. But don’t worry, I will make up my mind. The time for weighing the pros and cons is over.

You know, I’ve already come through the trial of the cobbled square. I have put up with the cold, the rain, all those forced smiles, the severe expression of my future father-in-law and the ear-splitting shouts of those dreadful nephews. You don’t get through a situation like that easily. I had to make the right choices so as not to shock the guests and not to melt into the crowd.
Yes, I did it clumsily, but I also went through the exercise of having to pose for all those would-be photographers, I even sought to produce the far-fetched ‘suitable’ stance, a posture which unfortunately I did not achieve – no doubt because I am too ‘ill at ease’ dressed up in that Armani disguise that I would not be wearing if I had been able to make my mind up on the day it was bought.

And now here I am standing before you, Deputy Mayor No. 162, and you are reading out to me articles of law which I do not understand. You must give me a copy of all that, so that I can read it in my own time at home. All your words are muddying the situation even more, as the moment of decision approaches, and I am becoming more and more nervous, and I am sweating and I can see a witness yawning openly while the rest of the gathering is waiting impatiently for the champagne and canapés.

I’m going to have to jump one way or the other; it’s either “yes” or “no”. “Maybe” is not allowed, nor is “why not?” or “I don’t know”, but I have already told you that I have always been indecisive, all the time, whatever the situation, so you just imagine the weight of the decision you are asking me to take!

If only it was Mathilde whose hand I was holding, right at this moment... I am sure I would not have hesitated.

Well... Almost sure.

Translated by Wendy Cross


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