When my father lost his inn and we had moved to Paris, I was in despair. We were living the life of the poor.
Before, my father had provided for us and we had had everything we needed to survive. Now, we were struggling to survive, living hand-to-mouth, not sure if we would survive the next day.
My father had taken over a gang, and I was forced to help them.
Generally serving as the lookout for the police, I became an unwilling accomplice in many of my father's crimes, but what could I do?
I lived in fear of my father and felt that the safest way to keep him happy, was to go along with his demands.
By bowing to his demands, I had gained a measure of freedom.
Now, I spent a large portion of my time roaming the streets of Paris.
I had made friends with a collection of street urchins and become friendly with their leader, a boy named Gavroche.
I had begun to beg from those who seemed well-to-do and that's how I met him.
Marius Pontmercy, I had heard his friends call him when I occasionally saw him in the streets going to a café.
I had begged money from him once, and he had taken pity on me and given me more than I deserved.
He must have seen something in my face, because after that, whenever he saw me, he always had a coin for me, however small.
We eventually struck up a friendship, and I soon began to entertain notions of escaping from my father's gang and instead escaping with my Marius.
This was not to be, however, because Marius never saw that I loved him.
He treated me as a friend, nothing more.
Inside, my heart broke but I still hoped that eventually the scales would fall from his eyes and we could escape together.
One day, my father decided to use me to con some well-meaning citizens out of their money.
He had me stand and weep on a street
(I had learned to summon tears when ordered or my father would give me a reason to weep in order to provide a "sufficiently pitiable spectacle my dear Eponine")
and told passersby that I was starving and only money would save my life.
That day, Marius followed me. I tried to get him to leave, but he chased me into the square and accidentally bumped into a young woman.
Both of them looked vaguely familiar to me but I couldn't place them. Before I could put a name to their faces, I remembered that my father had told me to watch out for the police.
I began to unobtrusively do so, so as not to bring the wrath of my father down upon my head. The man looked at me with pity in his eyes and began to search for his purse.
However, before he could bring it out, my father recognized him as the man who had taken Cosette away all those years ago.
I realized he was right, but by that time, my father had summoned members of his gang (one or two were never far away) and they attempted to rob Jean.
I, watching for police, almost immediately saw Javert, the constable for the area, heading towards us.
I screamed to let my father know and my father's gang stopped attempting to rob Jean and Jean and the girl escaped into the crowds.
My father began to converse with Javert and I discovered that Jean was a convicted criminal.
However, I saw such kindness in his eyes that I refused to believe he is the evil man he was made out to be by Javert.
When I see Marius next, he asks me to lead him to Jean's garden. I had done things like this for him before, as he knew a person but not their address, so I didn't think much of it until later.
When I led Marius to the house, I stayed and watched through the gate, curious as to what Marius was doing. When I saw Marius and Cosette professing their love for each other, my heart broke.
Marius never said these words to me. He never saw I loved him and so I suppose I can't feel as if he was mine to lose.
It still broke my heart
I was distracted enough that at first, I didn't hear the voices coming closer to the house. Wrenching my mind away from Marius, I recognized the voices of my father and his gang.
Listening closer, I realized that they were planning to rob Jean and Cosette. I had seen my father at work before and I knew that the occupants of the houses he robbed did not always survive.
I must admit, I felt a small thrill of pleasure at the thought that Cosette may be injured or killed in the robbery.
However, I was brought crashing back down to earth when I realized that Marius was still in the garden with Cosette.
Even though Marius had just professed his love for Cosette, I couldn't let him be put in danger.
With this thought in mind, I stepped out to confront my father and his gang...