I never was very skilled in this kind of art, nor wanted to be. Nor needed to be, mercifully. In recent years I don't remember but the polite lies of answering yes to my mother on the phone, when she asks if I feel all right and I don't, or no to beggars in the streets, when they ask if I have got some change and I do.

Thinking of this, I remember a scene of childhood, once I had gone with my family, to visit my grand parents for some days in the countryside, at La Croix. I was between 6 and 10 years old. The weather was fine, it was the end of a morning, in summer or spring. The front door was open, allowing to walk freely from the house to the garden. In the corridor, near that door, was a small cupboard, upon which my father had left his cigarettes. I do not know why I suddenly felt the desire of stealing one of them. Certainly not for smoking, as I was not used to. Perhaps only for the pleasure of possessing such an object so typically for adults, holding in my palm the light scented cylinder. I took one. Minutes later I heard my father shouting at me. Had I taken it? I was surprised and scared. I had not imagined he would notice, nor he would be so angry. I had not thought I was so obviously responsible, none of the adults would have done that, and my brother was probably too young to be suspected. I was afraid my father would beat me, as I knew he was quite able. I said no, father. It lasted for a moment. No, no, no, no.


- Philippe Bille