“So, what’s your purpose of seeing me here, for now?”
Javert manages his word to compensate the blankness of time caused by his verbal speed.
Valjean also notices that Javert stands in the gesture like before. Early in Montreuil did he discover that Javert tended to draw one of his knees back and this heightened the other leg consequently, the imbalance would be perfectly hidden in his coat. However, he no more stamps his feet, no more shivers even a little, while has lost his bludgeon. He studies Javert’s every detail, eyes rolling from his messed hair (apparently caused by days’ disinterest), down to the dampen woolen coat, then from his little muddy boots up to the eyes with blue sparkles in them. It takes him a long time to remind himself of Javert’s word. He stares at Javert’s eyes. He hopes that they’re not very important; and, how can he speak out anything important now?
Javert folds his arms to back, half-closes one of his eyes, with his eyebrows jumping up, approaching Valjean slowly. Valjean feels that he no doubt is deliberately scratching his face with eyebrows and, only with eyebrows. They’re too close; Valjean thinks in a relief he won’t be recognized behind the night, the best doer of hiding things. Maybe it’s Javert can’t remember him. The motion of Javert is completely out of order, some of his long hair falling down on Valjean’s nose, itches him. Their faces approximately touch, which reminds Valjean of something unclear, and Javert seems to try to sniff out something from him.
Try to imagine this scene: the summer night, the sky clouded, and the Seine beneath. Everything is vague like ghosts, every sound is like extracted from the very world, two shadows standing on the Pont au Change, the thinner one lowering his body to the stronger one, like two of rocks’ confrontation. Light is darkening, scenes are disappearing, the taller can only observe in another way, pricks up his ears and wrinkles his nose, studying the soul, if there is, wrapped in this strange black cloth. If the starlight can fall on them now, it can be seen that Javert is biting his longue; if Valjean is less aware, and draws his attention to audition, he will find the thick breath from whoever.
He draws out a conclusion. There must be at least one of them stupefied. The action, which can be called observation or inspection, only lasts less then one minute, though Valjean feels like lying on fireplace for no less than three months.
And what Javert acts looks like saying the inspection failed. He can only regard this wrapped angel as one of the unknown ghosts. However, Valjean sees the light in his eyes still dancing.
It’s also at this moment realizes Valjean that he is aimless about this journey.
“So, what indeed are you looking me for?”
“I passed all by occasion. Then…”
They utter nearly at the same time, but only Valjean haven’t ended. Javert releases out his full question and the question mark, Valjean swallows his answer and gives out a sigh.
“I’m curious about… what you do here.” He seems to be reminded.
He stares at one of river stones, maybe rather at the tip of weeds. Which will prevent the word “inspector” from his mouth.
“How can I know.”
Javert says not clearly, with some rubbing noises between his words, heard by Valjean. Javert follows his sight, but turns back to his ear again (Valjean thinks, though Javert can never see it outside his hood), sinking in his thoughts. He moves one of his arms back, elbow against waist, as if still owns his bludgeon. Valjean, turning his head back, coincidently discovers the stiff gesture of him.
If a dead could have his belongings, Valjean will buy a delicate crabstick for him willingly.
“There’s already a year after that,” Javert seems annoyed, while Valjean understands he hadn’t wasted too much time in the place before, “To be simple, it was the river over-charming or anything, and eventually, I’m dead. Not completely dead, though. However, …” Valjean just finds that Javert should not know him now. The fake identity constructed with effort in the past, can be pretended easily by cloth out of nowhere now. If Javert does know him, the man who tangled him (maybe compelled) all his life, must have throwed him into the Seine now. But it also means that he doesn’t have to let him explain word-by-word. People like Javert won’t be happy talking these to people. The scene Javert sitting on a wooden chair in the Police Prefecture of Montreuil emerges in his mind, as well as the inspector baking his shoes and uttering slangs.
-No. How far is it from him to me? The farthest should be living and death, but we’re all dead now. Completely. Then what’s the farthest? What about his face in the past? And, what about present?
Valjean have lost his attention. Maybe Javert can remember all parts of him, however, he himself is blocking them from him. He only feels that, he is farther and farther from his Javert.
Javert resumes after a second, “It is like the new chief punishes me in a way of offering me another job.” He almost has drained his head for speaking out this, as if part of his consciousness is extracted. One of his eyes turns to Valjean.
The words unclear, and it’s certain Javert has not much confidence about it. Valjean can adapt to every surroundings but Javert can inhabit everywhere faster than others. Only this “job” without purpose and specific content makes him annoyed. He even didn’t know he is dead until he read newspaper by occasional, and it was in throwing himself into the Seine and not any other way. It was precisely at that time, one week after his death, he felt obliged to stay alongside the river.
It’s because that he can not understand why he decided to drown himself. The blood smell of rebellion spread over, once he complained about why the dead would be more sensitive than the living, but eventually, with the smell gradually weakened and the memory slowly thinned, the complaints were swept away. If talking of the live in this year, he will say firstly that it’s not a “live” literally and no need to enquire, unless being annoyed will let out more, in the way most suddenly, opening his shells like showing the palms beneath his sleeves, saying out the annoying trifles such as he has been more dullish during the time or he has nothing to do in the circulations of day and night and he could realize summer passed but late in winter. He can not find out the reason he is so willing to haunt about the river, that he always doubts about himself while never want to leave. That’s strange. In conclusion, the things he has been doing through this year are only three: collect his memory, wasting his time, and…
He exactly would witness the people drown in the river like him. He would laugh at the people who use the Seine to earn other’s mercy, though he isn’t much appreciative about the kindness. However, he would be silent toward other people drowned. At first, he was doubted, exceedingly, about why those people hesitate on the bridge would go to two extremes, which were to revive and to lose life, he couldn’t understand how was this river able to whether break out or build up one’s heart within a thought. He wasn’t the person good at thinking, heavy thinking wouldn’t be included in an inspector’s tasks, but he isn’t an inspector now. There’s nothing in front of “Javert”, he is in blankness, he has become more and more opposite to think. At last, the unrest disappeared, he will ignore all of them.
Which is for restricting the pity rolling in his burning heart from leaking out.
There was sometime when he thought of pushing some of them back to the bank, but he abandoned that. That wouldn’t be fair, as well as he didn’t have such rights. Even saw himself fallen wouldn’t stir anything in him, he would watch it uninterestedly, face frozen, appreciate the fearlessness and the straight body at most. He had a strange feeling that the wave would subdue to his willingness, but he also felt that the waves should follow the nature rather than random command from a death, just like thousands of years before. The river runs, he almost has forgotten this. He still haunts about the bridge, reads newspaper handled by people once in a while. There seems to be no difference between wandering these days, and swallowed by the Seine.
Until an impulsive stupid guy strike into his sight.
Valjean is uninterested about Javert’s endless speech. Rather to say that he is completely in his mood. He tries to figure out what relationship does he have with Javert, no answer. The sound of river becomes more stronger, messing his mind, making him more impatient. Javert lingers his fingers around the pocket on his coat, trying to dig out more of questions, as well as stopping his claw from stroking the man near him out of unconsciousness.
“At the beginning had I thought about being cast down to wherever. You should know about that, about, eh, the flame and the sword, or anything else.” Javert’s tone seems unlike him.
Valjean stares at somewhere. Observing the surroundings, observing himself.
“…maybe I will stay here forever. It is a punishment. And you-”
A cart rushes by. This is another convincing proof of a rainy yesterday, the wheels lift the mud on the road and spray it over, the owner swears his Utrecht velvet is stained, maybe he would extort from his passengers for it. People come and go, stop and stamp, the unrest brought by drying heat blowing like real storm through the bridge straight and strict as geometry on the river, while the lanterns stayed motionless. The flood attacks the piles of the bridges more and more strongly, people get away from the parapet of Pont au Change, reminding Valjean that it’s the most dangerous point here. The gleam from the infinite distance stirring the surface of Seine, waves spreading with spot of light, dazing. The sky seems to flowing slowly, the river takes its first to rush onward, water in form of waves snakes through, disappears into distance.
“…can’t I imagine such a hard work on earth. You will probably find out me as a former inspector. How do people say? ‘A derailed-”
Javert cut off his speech himself. All of those are so natural.
“How about you? Don’t you come to take care for me?”
Valjean finds grief inside the lynx’s eyes.