Time returns to rewind, it returns that instant. This time he is close to her, he talks to her. She greets him without surprise. I am without memories, without projects. They build around them, with the sole purpose of recovering the taste of the moment they are living and the marks on the walls.
Later, they are in a garden. He remembers that there were gardens. She asks him what the collar he wears is, the collar of the fighter he wore at the beginning of this war that will one day break out. He invents an explanation.
They walk. They stop in front of the trunk of a redwood covered with historical dates. She utters a foreign name that he can't understand. As in a dream, he shows her a point beyond the tree. He feels that he is saying: "I come from there ..."
... and falls back, drained of all energy. Then another wave of Time raises it. No doubt they gave him another injection.
And now she's sleeping in the sun. He thinks that in the world where he goes to get his strength back, only to be sent back to her, she is dead.
He wakes up, he talks to her again. Of a truth that is too fantastic to be believed, he limits himself to the essential: a distant country, a long distance to travel. And she listens to him without making a mockery of him.
Is it the same day? He doesn't really know. They will repeat together an infinity of walks like this, in which a silent confidence, a pure confidence, will grow between them. Without memories, without projects. Until he feels, in front of them, a barrier.
Thus ends the first series of experiments. It was the beginning of a period of essay in which he would have found it at different times. She would have welcomed him in a normal way. He calls it his Ghost. One day he seems to be afraid. One day he leans on him. And he never knows he is going to her, if he is direct, if he is inventing or if he dreams.
Towards the fiftieth day they meet in a museum full of timeless animals.
Now the course is set up perfectly. Projected at the desired time, it can stay and move without effort. She also seems to be domesticated. He accepts as a natural phenomenon the passages of this visitor who appears and disappears, who exists, speaks, laughs with her, is silent, listens and leaves.
When he finds himself in the experiment room, he feels that something has changed. The camp director is there. From the speeches around him he understands that after the successes of experiments in the past it is in the future that they now intend to send it. Excitement for such a perspective makes him forget for a moment the fact that that meeting at the Museum was the last.
The future was better protected than in the past. At the end of other trials even more painful for him, he ended up entering into resonance with the future world. He crossed a transformed planet, rebuilt Paris, ten thousand incomprehensible avenues. Other people were waiting for it. The meeting was brief. It was clear that they rejected these waste from another era. He recited his lesson. Since humanity had survived, it could not deny its past means of survival. This sophism was accepted as a masquerade of Destiny. They gave him a power plant sufficient to get the whole human industry back on track and the doors of the future closed again.
Shortly after his return he was transferred to another part of the camp.
He knew his jailers would not spare him. It had been an instrument in their hands, the image from his childhood had served as a bait to put it at their disposal, he had responded to their expectations and had played his role. He waited for nothing but to be liquidated, with somewhere inside him the memory of a time lived twice. And at the bottom of this limbo that received the message of the people of the future. They also traveled in Time, and in a simpler way. And now they were there and offered to accept him among them. But his request was different: rather than this peaceful future, he asked that the world of his childhood be rendered to him and this woman who was doing it was waiting for him.
Once on the large Orly wharf, on that hot Sunday before the war where he could dwell, he thinks with a hint of vertigo that even the child he had been must have been there, watching the planes. But first he looked for a woman's face at the end of the pier. The races met. And in recognizing the man who had followed him from the underground camp, he realized that there was no time left and that this moment that he had been allowed to see as a child, and that he had not ceased to haunt him, was the time for his death.
( La Jetée, a film of Chris Marker, 1962 )