Louis is a second generation immigrant from South America, he grew up in France and although he still doesn’t have the nationality feels very french. His parents worked very hard when he was a child and managed to put some money aside for their retirement and his future. They always believed that having your own small business was the road to independence and safety. They had genuinely suffered from being employed by people that did not consider them in the same way they considered local employees. For them having your own commercial activity is a huge freedom. A few years ago therefore they bought a small café and after running it for a while left it to Louis. The café is really small and although in a very nice neighborhood, it is on a small side street with little or no traffic. It is essentially a place for habitues, local residents who want to get out of the house. In south America, getting out of the house for a mate or coffee with friends is a common welcome moment of respite from family life, in the small provincial town of G., the habit if ever it existed disappeared years ago. So the café is very quiet with the odd customer coming in alone for a quick coffee. Business is very bad and although Louis tried a variety of formulas to attract clients, like small hot snacks at lunch, happy hour, etc.. nothing seems to attract bigger crowds. He would have sold the place ages ago if he didn’t feel such obligation towards his parents.
The situation therefore is a financial catastrophe and his wife has stopped working in the café and has started doing cleaning jobs to bring money to the household. Louis and his wife were always very close either working side by side or talking together on the mobile as soon as they had a moment. Now however they can’t afford to spend money on a mobile , so he gave up his and only has the fix line of the café. His wife kept hers as a measure of security but never calls him during the day anymore. One of her employers once made a scene because she found Isabelle talking on her mobile phone during working hours, so now she only calls her husband when she is on her way home or to the next job. To say that Louis and his wife are depressed is not an exaggeration, he feels terribly lonely and stuck in his café and she feels alone in her jobs that she hates.
Louis and his wife have a very strong relationship that is put under strain by their financial situation. The unhappiness of now both having jobs that they dislike is heightened by the fact that they cannot alleviate the loneness they feel with a short call or contact during the day.