The first whiff of purple

The first whiff of purple

OIt’s 2002 and the cigarette packets are still showing pretty candy colors that make you want to dance with your arms in the air in clouds of smoke and carcinogenic risks. It’s also the last year of compulsory military service, never again. And, of course, it had to fall on him. But, after three weeks of classes in the forest with the alpine hunters of Gap, giving everything to put one foot in front of the other in the snow, a blank rifle in the collar, to fight for the first time in his life because they had stolen his little square of moss which had been spared by the frost when he had gone to take a piss one night, here he is, almost happy, relieved, warmed up, in the army labs, at the General Directorate of Armaments.

Drowned in it, still a few aches, a bright smile on his face, he thinks of the grace of his mission: to materialize light in the night thanks to laser holography.

He knows he’s going to spend the next two years sleeping on a layer closer to the beach towel than the mattress, living and studying in the dark; refuge from his flip of arms and brutality, shelter from his research. With, in sight, his thesis. He knows he’s going to die. Just the title, just that, it’s hard to remember. In English it has it: High speed metrology applied to silicon carbide ceramics under impact. But in French, drop it, impossible to print it. Who knows. But he is happy. The idea of ​​having the right to shut yourself up in a dark room to measure the circulation of the wave before it…bim! The idea of ​​the impact of the wave on the material gives it a feeling of 100% successful celebration.

Day 1 in the darkroom. In such a hurry that he didn’t take off his silent fabric camouflage parka, big pockets with magnetic buttons, the only piece of his snowman uniform that he was able to keep. Drowned in it, still a few aches, a bright smile on his face, he thinks of the grace of his mission: to materialize light in the night thanks to laser holography. As the clouds materialize the rays of the sun on the days when the pure and the idiots think that it is God who pays his courtesy visit. He prowls around the gear made available, the luck he has, it’s much too good! Will have to go there.

He shuts down and launches the engine room. His classes parade, notions, doubts, intuitions and waves stir everywhere around him. His hand gets lost in the oversized pocket of his jacket and ends up finding one of the packets of Lucky Strike, a red circle on a white background, distributed in the forest by hunters like Twix and bricks of chocolate milk at night. to taste. He never smoked in his life. The lid slides under his fingers, the electric softness of the thing, he tilts the cardboard head of the package.

Read also: The lipstick, the black sink and the oversized feet

His first cigarette is wedged, easy, between his index and middle fingers. Unsuspecting, he turns it on, coughs a little, normal. At that moment, he only sees in the rod – two thirds white, one third dark yellow – a technical tool, a vehicle for achieving his epiphanies. He inhales hard to be able to spit out as much smoke as possible. And it works: the ray appears in the whitened night with nicotine-scented chimeras. Translucent violet, like gel, marvelous, the light and color of discovery, the energy of knowing that travels. Unaware, he smokes in the dark like a joyful damned, in search of the violet ray, without knowing that he has just lit the fuse of the greatest and darkest story of his existence.

Read also: By bicycle, on the pilgrims’ cycle route