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The day had begun in the most ordinary manner. I was sitting cross-legged on my sofa, holding a long, black and still steaming cup of coffee, staring vacantly at a news channel on the TV.
“ … this evening we will be welcoming David Arnauld, one of the French scientists who instigated the initial historic contact with that entity we know by the name of Gravity. Indeed, by an incredible feat of technical skill, a few months ago his team succeeded, by using one of the most basic forms of communication, in… “
Like everyone around me, I had been living for almost a year in a strange and dream-like world. Gravity, that force which ruled all movement within the universe, ensuring the cohesion of the Earth and keeping us on its surface, had begun to malfunction. Overnight, everything was in chaos. Depressed people had felt – and had become – heavier, whereas the happier among us were leaping like astronauts on the surface of the Moon. Enemies pushed each other away, while lovers felt, in the true sense of the word, irresistibly attracted to each other.
These changes had propelled Dr Arnauld’s team into new and unsuspected reaches of science, leading finally to the historic contact mentioned by the journalist and to this incredible conclusion, that Gravity was a living being.
This had a radical impact on society, with each person involuntarily betraying their deepest emotions by their gravitational characteristics. Gravity had therefore decided the outcome of the American presidential election in just a few weeks. While one of the candidates had shown himself to be crushed by depression, almost crawling into his meetings, the other pranced about like a mountain goat whenever he appeared…

After a few further news items of little intellectual interest, I decided to switch off the television and break with my morning routine. I grabbed the book I had been engrossed in for more than two days and made my way to the terrace of the café on the corner of my street. When I got there, my favorite table was free. I settled down at it and began to read when a pigeon flew low over the terrace, using the customers as slalom posts. Startled, I jumped and watched it head off back to the sky. That’s when my eyes met those of a young woman, sitting only two or three yards from me, alone with a solitary cup of coffee.
I was greeted by a sparkling gaze, accompanied by a wide smile framed by magnificent full lips which were marvellously well defined. Little lines at the corners of her mouth enhanced the joy emanating from her expression. Beside her, the whole world seemed nothing but a dull, dark pit.
After I had examined the details of her face, I contemplated her as a whole. That’s when I was really blown away. An electric charge shot from my stomach and sped straight to my heart, setting everything in its path alight. 
The young woman radiated intelligence and incredible charm. All she had done was smile at me and move the features of her face very slightly, yet I was convinced that I already knew her by heart. Cultured, funny, striking, confident of her appearance, yet possessed of a wavering inner self-confidence, a jazz fan, but loving above all to sway her hips to a good old rock song… I had only set eyes on her for a second and I could already read her like an open book. It was as if the few gestures she had made, her smile, the fine lines at the corners of her face, her long brown hair, these alone betrayed every last trait of her personality. 
Love at first sight… The real thing, exactly as it should happen, and which only occurs once every two thousand lives: the time when you are certain it is reciprocal.
The sweat beading on my back, my trembling limbs, my dry mouth… All these symptoms were soon swept aside by a dull trembling, deep inside myself. A terrible force was rumbling through me, making me wobble on my chair. My skin was flinching, my vision was growing cloudy. Then everything started to sway. 
Like a puppet suspended on exquisite long strings, I was pulled from my table and projected in the direction of the love of my life, who was also being subjected to the whims of Gravity, so sensitive to human emotions. We met halfway, between our two tables, lying on the ground, one against the other, with my lips pressed against the sweet skin of her neck, and hers placed languorously on my earlobe.
“My name is Léa.”
Her voice was soft and smooth. Just as I had imagined it.
“ I’m François…”

Our first meeting was no doubt the most comical in the history of humanity. We had the afternoon to get used to our new situation, that of learning to walk, stuck to each other, face pressed against face. We were like two dance fanatics, who couldn’t do anything but wander about the town performing ‘pas de deux’. 
With her old iPod, we discovered that our tastes in music were a perfect match. We shared most of the same interests and complemented each other for the rest. Music, such a vital element of my life, enabled us to agree on the pace to give to our movements so that we could move in harmony. In the park alongside the street where she lived, we wandered down the avenues of plane trees to the rhythm of the music of our favorite songs. We found our perfect tempo in Frank Sinatra’s I Get A Kick Out of You, a rhythm which allowed us to move entwined while leaping with joy. Because not satisfied with sticking us together, Gravity had relieved us of more than half our earthly weight. Yes, we were light of heart and of body, skin against skin, our two souls mingling as we wandered through the city. We were beautiful people, in love, happy…

In a panic, my best friend, Antoine, did his utmost to persuade me to accept his help. He assured me that it was possible to separate myself from this young woman I had just met. One good tug and a real effort would get me away from her, which – to quote him – did not mean I would have to give up on this bond for all that. It was just that, in his opinion, I had to get back to a normal life… Stuck like that to Léa, I desired everything except a normal life. I only wanted a life with her.
After we had taken all our time off and been at the receiving end of the rage of our respective employers, we decided to live our love at my place. Life caught up with us in the end after all: we had to get washed, go to the bathroom, get dressed and go out occasionally into the real world. Fortunately, we soon realized that it was possible, with a little effort, to slip the fabric of our clothes between our two skins. This proved without doubt that it was generally possible for us to separate, but neither of us wanted to.
With some contortions and a bit of effort, we could also change our respective positions so that we were back to back, side by side or one behind the other. With these few tricks, we spent, together, the best weeks of our whole lives. 
Our favorite place was the sofa. This was where we talked and relaxed. We listened to music there, snuggled together, letting ourselves be transported by the sound of turn-of-the-century crooners. That was also the place where we discovered each other’s tastes in cinema which, once again, were a perfect match.
Being stuck permanently to Léa was also an excuse to discover her body: the softness of her skin texture, the perfect curve of her hips, the delicacy of her arms… I spent whole hours with my face lost in her hair letting my hands wander over her, as if in fear that this happiness could be taken away from me at any moment.
Until the morning when we woke up separated, each on our own side of the bed.

The next day, my doorbell rang when we were in the middle of our breakfast. A man in a dark suit was waiting on the other side of the door with a letter which, incomprehensibly, was addressed to Léa and myself. It contained a few lines signed by the President of the Republic himself:
“Dear Sir and Madam, 
You are invited to the Élysée Palace to be awarded the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for services rendered to the nation. You are, and here I quote the scientists who provided me with this astonishing report, ‘those who have cured Gravity, thanks to their unconditional love, the most beautiful thing that this entity has ever experienced on Earth’. 
Thanks to you, Gravity has recovered its equilibrium and everything has returned to a state of normality…”
Normality? As far as I was concerned, after an experience like that, I could only see returning to the world as we used to know it as a gloomier prospect for my fellow men. But not for me… I turned around and looked at Léa for some considerable time. I could feel happiness leaping inside me.

Translated by Wendy Cross


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