Pas Sans Toi (Not Without You)

Pas Sans Toi
(Not Without You)

by Andrea Lena DiMaggio

No, not without you
I won't live such a life
If you retake me in your arms
We could get everything back together again
No, no, no
Not without you
It would be like denying my life
It would be like stifling a cry
If I'm wrong, go away
If you love me, wait for me

Cara felt like her heart had been torn from her chest and thrown like a crystal goblet against an unyielding wall; a barrier of sorts that also reflected her pain and sadness. She felt helpless to do anything other than stand like a seven-year-old in the doorway; almost holding onto Mariah’s leg.

“You can’t go.”

“Watch me!” The words would have been bitter but for the tears in Mariah’s eyes. Dismissive out of frustration and even fear rather than anger, Mariah shook her head; confused. Cara stood in the doorway; as if her mere presence was enough to bar Mariah from leaving.

She stepped around Cara and out the door. As if to punctuate the paragraph that was her day, their boxer puppy hopped off the couch and ran out the door and to the car, jumping in the open rear hatch. Cara took one step down off the porch and stood, shaking her head as the tears that mirrored her partner’s streamed down her cheeks. All feelings of helplessness drained from her body as her determination to love her spouse kicked in....

Not without you….

To say that Cara was tenacious would be an understatement; getting knocked down in life by so many things as a child had tempered the steel of her resolve. And if she was desperate it was almost entirely for Mariah’s benefit and only that bit of herself that truly loved the girl; despite Mariah’s protests to the contrary. Despite the departure, she felt confident that Mariah would return, if only to regroup in her efforts to gather whatever she could to flee. Cara sat on the front step of the porch; almost lying in wait to apprehend the fugitive from her love, she bided her time singing a song to herself….

Non, pas sans toi
Je ne la vivrai pas cette vie là
Si tu me reprenais dans tes bras
On pourrait reconstruire tout ça
Non, non, non
Pas sans toi

No…not without you. I won’t live such a life…. Words that went beyond mere lyrics on a page, she refused to let go. Not that selfish ‘I can’t bear to live without you,’ but rather the heart that refuses to give up on another even if they’ve given up on themselves. She wasn’t going down without a fight; however soft the encounter might come, the hard reality was there in front of them for both to see, if only with open eyes. She looked up to see Mariah getting out of the van.

“I can’t,” the woman said as she went to step past Cara on the front steps. Almost playful and nearly a risky maneuver, Cara scooted over; blocking Mariah’s path. In a second, the girl was lying splayed across Cara; her arms akimbo. Cara embraced her and held tight.

“Non, non, non….Pas sans toi…” She put her lips to Mariah’s ear and kissed her while repeating the familiar lyrics….

Sèche tes pleurs
Le temps nous attendra
Nous nous sommes perdus dans tout ça
Il n'y a plus de raisons d'avoir peur, je crois
Sèche tes pleurs

The words pulled Mariah close as tears streamed down her cheeks even as Cara cautioned her to not be afraid.

“You just can’t love me…. I’m damaged goods….I’m a sham.” Her words tried to shout down the soothing calm of Cara’s voice; a futile gesture.

“Not to me, cheri….not to me.” The real girl spoke softly to the inauthentic woman in her arms; the words struggling to coax self-acceptance to parallel her own love.

“I love you. Not who you were or who your parents said you should have been. We loved each other from the start because of who we are. “

“You could have….” Mariah looked away quickly after glancing at Cara’s body. No amount of hoping or wishing anything undone would change things. If they were to have a family, it would have to be from without rather than within, Mariah felt. She began to sob; a moment that evoked even more love as Cara redoubled her efforts to demonstrate just how wrong Mariah was.

On est tellement plus fort
Que toutes ces heures, tous ces remords
On s'oubliait, on avait tort
Je t'aime encore si fort

It almost would have seemed foolish or even silly that Cara continued to sing her love, so to speak, but Mariah needed to know that they were stronger; perhaps as much a result of Mariah’s change as in spite of it. And that whatever they might regret, there was no need for remorse because they had each other.

“Non, Non, Non….Pas Sans Toi…..” Not without you. No matter how unworthy or ashamed Mariah might find herself, Cara’s love was going to overcome the fear and doubts. She loved the woman she had married, even if she knew her from when Mariah had been something entirely different; if still someone entirely the same.

“No matter what, I love you. I refuse to let you give up on yourself.” She pulled Mariah closer and kissed her softly on the cheek; tasting the salt of her tears. What felt bitter to the woman in her arms was sweet and holy and right. She spoke softly even as she continued to kiss her.

Sèche tes pleurs
Refais-moi ce sourire
Celui qui ne fait pas vieillir
Ni mon âme ni mon corps
Je t'aime encore si fort

The drama continued to play out on the front steps almost like a musical; no one in real life breaks out into song spontaneously, but Cara was a singer and a lover and a wife, and her way was oddly appropriate to reach her spouse. Give me that smile that doesn’t age? Mariah fell further into Cara’s arms and wept, but that smile did emerge as she realized just how important it was to remember Cara’s words….

“Not without you….”

Pas Sans Toi
(Not Without You)
Words and music by
Lara Fabian and
Rick Allison
as performed by
Lara Fabian

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