A second with Fabrice

August 4, 2008

By Stephan Trano

A few years ago, while working on one of my books, I asked my close friend Pierre Berge, the CEO of Yves Saint-Laurent, what was his definition of friendship. True friendship is when someone calls you in the middle of the night to tell you “I just killed my wife” and you answer “Ok, where is the body so we can hide it?” Tough, but it feels right. No question. No discussion. I have made throughout the years long trips deep in the currents of friendship, surrounded by precious encounters which built me the way I am. In the middle of my so called life I acquired the certitude that friendship is the most elaborate feeling and quintessentially human.

Well. When it comes to Fabrice, the word friendship immediately comes to my mind. Not that we can consider each other regular friends. We live in some opposite sides of the world and our encounter was probably more than unexpected. However, there is one second that always challenges the rules of life. It is an indefinable second of trust which can pop up even in the middle of the most unlikely context. I believe this happened to us in October 2006 when we first met in New York.

I have always been fascinated by the ability of some rare men and women to give a chance to that second. I respect this because I know what it means. Many of my friends died aids as I started discovering love and affection. Then I had to accept the gift of surviving, despite my own wounds, some of them during one of the ugliest war on this earth, in the Middle-East. And also, I had to accept, that morning in hell, when my closest friend gave up on life. It changes a man to experience these things. It also gives another vision of what the people really are and what friendship means.

There was absolutely no good reason for Fabrice to open me his door. Nobody is less sporty, game playing or expressive than me. He even knew nothing about the very circumstances of my arrival in New York. And yet was that second. As time passed, I observed him a lot, the way I had observed other fantastic people. I was not surprised to discover that Fabrice is a guy deeply inspired by the almost mystical dimension of friendship. He has this impressive dimension of elegance and sensibility. And also this “Je ne sais quoi” (one of Fabrice’s favorite expressions) that I always perceived in the people I met who were destined for unusual paths.

It takes a long time to become the man we are to become. We need other people the same way sailors need the stars in the dark sky. We need other people to play with, some to share with and also, some just to be in the same life with. Is it always friendship? No. But it belongs to the wonderful and powerful domain of friendship. That’s why if one day, later, one was to ask me “why are you friends?”, I will probably answer with this quote from Montaigne which he used to refer to his unusual friendship with La Boetie: “Because it was him, because it was me”.

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