One Summer In France – Episode 05

Sighing, she stood up and hung the towel on the heated rail to dry. Time to get dressed. The car the studio was sending for her would be here soon. Time to put her public face on and smile for the cameras.

The other guests were already enjoying wine and nibbles when Suzette was shown into the Green Room at the studios. She recognised a well-known actor and one of France’s ageing

rock ’n’ roll stars.

The show’s format meant that each guest was introduced individually until all five of them were sitting around a table laden with finger food and wine in an effort to create an atmosphere of friends at lunch chatting intimately and enjoying themselves.

Suzette had the actor on one side of her and a young wannabe star from a current talent show on the other. After initial hesitations, talk flowed between them as the skilful presenter drew them all in to the conversation. It was when the subject of hobbies came up that Suzette found herself in the spotlight.

“Suzette, I know you are a keen photographer, but you are also a very gifted needlewoman and love to embroider. Tell us how you got into that,” the presenter said.

“Like all good things, I learned it at my mother’s knee,” Suzette said. “I find it very relaxing and always have a piece in my dressing-room to work on. It helps to pass the time when I’m not on stage.”

“You were born and grew up here in Paris, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I grew up in Paris,” Suzette said, ignoring the first part of the question. “I had a happy childhood here – although once I went to ballet school it was a very disciplined life.” She went on to explain how her world had revolved around ballet since the age of eleven. “The discipline I learned there is ingrained in me now.” She sighed. “Sometimes I wish I could just be me.”

As she spoke she realised that maybe it was not the right thing to say on national TV.

“Of course I love what I do, and hope to continue for some time yet,” she added quickly. “I’m really looking forward to my season here in Paris in the autumn.” There. At least Malik would be pleased with her for getting their show mentioned. She was relieved when five minutes later the show came to an end.

On the way home, Suzette sank back into the seat of the limousine and remembered the way the sentence about just being herself had come out without her thinking about it. But when she retired and gave up the dance world altogether that was exactly what she could be. Herself. Would she survive without dance?

Thank goodness it was only another couple of days before Malik would be back and she could talk to him. The one person left who knew her well – although even he only knew her by her stage name.

Margaret Scott

Margaret is a sub-editor within the Production Team on the "Friend". Her main job is to work on the stories and make sure the magazine leaves us in its best possible guise. When not doing that, however, she either has her head buried in the old “Friend” volumes or is out and about giving talks or going on Warner trips (fab!). She hates cheese.