The Love of Valjeans Life
Several months had already passed since Valjean and Cosette had arrived at the Petit-Picpus convent and they had settled into life there, Jean Valjean was up a ladder cutting the branches of a large tree in the garden and eagerly awaiting the bell that would signal it was time for his hour with Cosette.
He had spent a lot of time lately thinking about the new life he had in the convent, and about Cosette of course, that little girl was the love of Valjeans life, every time he thought about her he smiled. He had been thinking about all the people he had helped his life, his sister and her children who he went to prison for all those years ago, the people who depended on him when he was mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer, he had spent his life looking after other people but he had never loved any of them until he met Cosette. She was his world, his reason for living, of course he would like to have more time with his daughter, but he was just too grateful to the convent and the nuns for everything that they had done for them both to argue.
Valjean cut another small branch from the tree and remembered the first night he and Cosette arrived, it was so cold that night, Valjean thought to himself, and Cosette was so scared. Valjean was filled with shame every time he remembered how he had gotten Cosette to keep quiet that night; I shouldn't have told her Mdm Thenardier was after her, that was cruel, I couldn't lose her though, it would have been worse than death to have been caught and had Cosette torn away from me, I had to do something.
Valjean also remembered something worse from that night, something that still haunted him; he remembered how Cosette nearly died that night. He had only left her alone for a moment but the cold must have gotten to her because she had passed out when he had returned to her, at first Valjean thought she was sleeping until he felt how cold she was. Valjean remembered how terrified he was at that moment, all he had done was try to keep her safe and he had almost killed her by leaving her in the cold night air; it was the worst moment of his life as he held that poor lifeless girl in his arms trying to find her heartbeat. Thankfully though he did, and she was alright, but he could never forget how badly he nearly failed her that night. Sometimes he was just so grateful that she was alive and safe that he forgot about how little he was able to see her.
Valjean knew that this was better though, it was better for Cosette for them to be here. He loved her so much that he only wanted what was best for her, nobody could hurt her in here he thought, and she was getting a proper education in here, much better than what I could provide for her. She was happy here too, she was able to play with other children and she had friends now, and she's become so beautiful! Valjean thought.
It had taken time for her to get there though, Cosette had found it harder than Valjean at first to adjust to this new life, she was terribly upset when she found out that she would have to leave her father and join the other boarders in the convent, she had begun to cry when the nuns tried to take her away and she had clung on to Valjean so hard he practically had to tear her off him.
Valjean remembered what he had told her that day to calm her down, he remembered how he had gotten down on his knees so he could be eye level with her and he had looked into her tear filled eyes and said "Cosette, it'll be alright. I'll never be far away from you I promise, don't be scared. I'll still be here for you". She felt better after that and went along with the nuns but it still broke his heart that day when he watched her leave, he knew in his heart that she would be alright though so he took comfort in that.
Valjean was aware that it was getting closer to his time with Cosette so he hurried along with his work, he was so eager to see her. He couldn't wait to hear her come bounding through the door of his hut like she did every day, he would always gather her into his arms and cover her little face with kisses and they would sit together as she would tell him all about her day so far, it didn't matter what she had done or what she talked about, that was his time with her and all he wanted was to see his little girl and hear her speak.
Even though she was safe and happy in the convent and being well looked after by the nuns Valjean still found it hard not having Cosette with him all the time, he missed her terribly. He hadn't realised at first how hard it would be on him not being able to be with her all the time, he missed waking her up in the mornings, sitting her on his knee, reading to her, putting her to bed at night, just being able to be her father. Valjean thought that if he didn't have that hour with her every day he might not even be able to continue living, that was how much he loved that little girl, she was the only thing keeping him alive.
Valjean had finished trimming the tree he was working on and climbed down the ladder to gather up the branches that had fallen, and then the bells of the convent started ringing. Valjean smiled to himself and quickly finished what he was doing, he hurried along to his hut he shared with his "brother" so he could wash his hands and face before Cosette arrived.
He was just finishing drying his hands when the door flung open and suddenly there was Cosette, cheerful and smiling like she was every day. It filled Valjean with joy just to see her.
"Papa!" she exclaimed, seeing him.
Cosette ran into Valjeans arms and he picked her up and kissed her face all over, they were so happy to see each other even though only a day had passed since the last time, that little girl and that old man loved each other so much the amount of time apart didn't matter, they were just always so glad to see each other.
"Tell me about your day Cosette" Valjean said, sitting down with her.
And she did, just like she did every day, and Valjean listened just like he did every day. He sat with his daughter and enjoyed the precious little time he had with her and he loved every second of it, because that little girl was truly the love of his life.