Left for Dead
Everything crumbled when my father left. The house went quiet in one fell swoop. Alone with my mother, I became her confidant and her collaborator, and my friends were like my family. The year began at the Jacques Cartier high school in Saint-Malo, the corsair city par excellence. Hearing about Cartier, Surcouf, Duguay-Trouin, Mahé de la Bourdonnais, Chateaubriand, Maupertuis, made me tremble with excitement. Then there were books about Roger Vercel, Pierre Loti, Moitessier, Stern Veyrin, and of course, poetry, to charm girls! I was sixteen years old, and I couldn't keep still. Mopeds became a passion; they were the beginning of all our great expeditions. At fifty kilometers per hour, we took off for Yugoslavia, Ireland, Scotland, and Poland, where we even spent a night in prison!
Still today, I keep on my desk the nails that were put in my legs to try to save them.
With the intention of working in the field of motorcycles or ocean racing, I decided to enrol in the Arts et Métiers Paris Tech engineering school. Passing the exams, however, would prove difficult. For, in May 1976, I was assaulted by a group of strangers and left for dead. When I came out of the coma, nobody expected me to be able to walk again. Every day, I would stare at the screws that had been put in my legs, in an attempt to save what was left of them. Alive, I was — but boats, adventure, and mopeds had become a pipe dream. I had to figure out what to do with myself. When I got home, all of my friends came to visit. As they were oyster farmers, fishermen, and market gardeners, they brought us goods that my mother would cook for everyone. The house brimmed with life again. I loved it. As soon as I could stand again, I went to help her in the kitchen.