Paris, Five years later
Sometimes Serge Lacroix forgot how much he’d had to drink. Cocktails would do that to you – did they contain two measures, or three, or four?
But when the lights were blazing and the tunes were playing it was so easy to let yourself get carried away.
It was like Madonna sang: ‘Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free.’ Here was safe space, sacred space, liberated space.
The same space Jacques Fournier often found himself, for the same reasons:
the music, the lights, the hot, hot boys, the freedom to dance, to flirt, to forget.
And if they sometimes drank too much, then it was only as a way of medicating the memories.
It was only as a way to forget.
The first thing Sara Nathan did when she got her freedom was to enrol in university. She was not quite twenty-two at the time and to be among people who were mostly two or three years younger than her was hard to adjust to at first. She kept wanting to discipline them, keep them in line.
But over time, she loosened. She re-learned to party, to study, to have fun, to learn – to be young again. She developed a mild addiction to tattoos.
And a stronger addiction to hot girls.
She decided to carry on studying once she’d got her first degree – she pretended the MBA was for improving her employment prospects, but really it was to delay growing up and joining the adult world just that little bit longer.
One day there would be time to settle down, work again, maybe marry. But for now, Sara was going to enjoy all that being young had to offer.
‘And today we call upon those governments who still seek to oppress people on the basis of who they love, who seek to legislate against us, punish us, take away our basic human freedoms. And we say enough is enough.’
Irina Lescowicz had her freedom, and there wasn’t a day she took that for granted, not a day she didn’t wake up thankful that she was no longer forced to spend a lifetime in denial, yoked to someone she didn’t desire and that didn’t desire her. Yet she knew that there were millions of people, some even close to home, in parts of Europe, who were denied that freedom. And so she had made it her mission to speak for those who were oppressed, to fight for their liberation. Her status as one of those who’d been taken, the media interest they’d all received when they returned gave her the platform to speak and she seized that chance with all she had, developing for herself a very public profile.
Irina would never forget what her life almost became, and she would do anything to ensure others could feel as she felt the day she left Beacon, the day she was no longer oppressed. And she would stand and shout and raise her voice until she was heard, until everyone was given the freedom she herself now enjoyed. The irony that she now really was a beacon of hope to the world, as she had been trained to be, was not lost on her.
‘Now who’s with me?’