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The garage door opened and he appeared in the door hug. Without saying anything, he opened the outside gate and sat next to me. He looked worried.
I made a decision!
Worried, I looked at it without understanding. Had he decided to replace me? Did he finally think I was too old to take another big trip? That was my constant fear. Had that day come? I was already preparing my defence, I was preparing to remind him of what we had experienced, all the difficulties we had gone through but also the laughter, the joys, the shivers together on the dirt tracks. Yes, I was determined to defend myself. I dreaded the thought that he might leave with someone else.
I’ll rename you!
I looked at him, amazed.
Rename me?! I repeated without understanding. But why?
I saw him take a deep breath, then he said:
Yes, your name is “African” and this time we’re going to Asia and maybe Australia.
I’m just thinking for a second. The argument made sense.
Yes, a little as if a rally taking place in South America was called the DAKAR, is that it?
Yeah, you got it. That’s exactly what it is.
Aggressive, I answered him:
What’s so funny?!
Then without waiting for an answer, I continued:
And what do you want to call me?
Excellent question! What would you like your name to be?
He gets on my nerves sometimes. I grumbled and thought. I was hasardais:
Not very original!
Ah because the African woman, it was original perhaps?!!
Yeah, yeah, you’re right, it wasn’t very original either, but keep cool. Oh, my God! You and your damn temper. We can’t tell you, we get tackled right away.
You’re the one who’s talking nonsense! My character has nothing to do with it. You know me, if you’re talking nonsense, I’ll react, don’t be the one that falls from the sky!
Then without giving him time to answer, I continued:
So, what do you want to call me?
He then took a small picture out of his pocket and showed it to me. It represented a horse tied to a small blue chair. This time, I was beginning to ask myself serious questions about my pilot’s mental state.
One man, Antoine de St Exupéry once wrote: “Make your life a dream, and a dream a reality.”
Yeah, so what?
For some time now, thanks to my book, I have been meeting people who tell me that I am lucky to have made such a trip and that they dream of it.
Why don’t they do it then?
Because they have obligations.
Yes, things they are obliged to do or accomplish.
I wasn’t sure I understood, so I asked:
So these things they have to do keep them from fulfilling their dreams?
Yes, that’s right, except that very often, these obligations are constraints that in the end you impose on yourself. We think it’s impossible to get away from it. Kind of like that horse tied to his chair. He stays there, when he could easily leave and drag the chair behind him.
Yes, but the chair would stay attached to him.
He sketched a smile.
Yes, but sometimes you have to know how to fly your little blue chairs to put colours in your life.
I was beginning to get what he meant. However, I did not see what he was getting at.
Yes, I think I understand. But what does that have to do with my new name?
What we both accomplished more than 10 years ago and what we are going to do in a few months, many in our dreams, but never dare to make it happen. For them, rightly or wrongly, this is utopian.
Yeah, so what?
That’s why I decided to call you now: “UTOPIA”. Because you are the realization of a dream, of a utopia.
Machinally I was rehearsing:
UTOPIA, UTOPIA. Yeah, I like it. Are we celebrating?
He laughs softly.
Yeah, if you want, I’ll invite some friends and we’ll have a christening ceremony. Are you happy now?
And there’ll be champagne like when you put a boat in the water?
Yes, there will be champagne, I promise.
He got up from his chair and closed the outside gate.
Suddenly an idea came to me.
Hey, did you say we were going to Australia?
It’s possible, yes. Why? Why?
If that’s the case, does that mean I’ll have to fly again?
Chances are, yes.
So they’re gonna put me back in a box, like the first time?
If we’re flying, yes, why?
Can you tell the people who make the box to make holes in it?
Yes, so I can breathe!
You think you’re a sheep? he replied with a burst of laughter.
And without waiting, he got out of the garage. A sheep?! Why is he talking to me about sheep when I ask him for simple holes to breathe. Isn’t that legitimate? Sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t smoke things on the sly, it’s not possible.