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177 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1948
I never could think of prostitutes as human beings or even as women. They seemed more like imbeciles or lunatics.
They say that “time assuages”,—
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do, with age.
Time is a test of trouble,
But not a remedy.
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no malady.
Emily Dickinson, Part Four: Time and Eternity, The Complete Poems
Everything passes. (169)
I wonder if I have actually been happy.
All I feel are the assaults of apprehension and terror at the thought that I am the only who is entirely unlike the rest. It is almost impossible for me to converse with other people. What should I talk about, how should I say it? – I don't know.
The weak fear happiness itself.
“You look like someone who's had an unhappy childhood. You're so sensitive–more's the pity for you.”
Unhappiness. There are all kinds of unhappy people in this world. I suppose it would be no exaggeration to say that the world is composed entirely of unhappy people. But those people can fight their unhappiness with society fairly and squarely, and society for its part easily understands and sympathizes with such struggles. My unhappiness stemmed entirely from my own vices, and I had no way of fighting anybody... Am I what they call and egoist? Or am I the opposite, a man of excessively weak spirit? I really don't know myself, but since I seem in either case to be a mass of vices, I drop steadily, inevitably, into unhappiness, and I have no specific plan to stave off my descent.
I thought, “As long as I can make them laugh, it doesn’t matter how, I’ll be alright. If I succeed in that, the human beings probably won’t mind it too much if I remain outside their lives. The one thing I must avoid is becoming offensive in their eyes: I shall be nothing, the wind, the sky.”
“Así mismo, la gente habla del «sentimiento de culpabilidad». En mi caso, me poseyó desde que era bebé y, con el tiempo, en lugar de curarse se hizo más profundo, penetrándome hasta los huesos. Pero, incluso si se podía decir que mi sufrimiento por las noches era el de un infierno de infinitas torturas, pronto se me hizo más querido que mi propia sangre y carne. Y me llegó a parecer la expresión de ese sentimiento de culpabilidad vivo o quizás su murmullo afectuoso.”No se puede negar que a priori reunía todos los ingredientes necesarios para que este relato, de una infinita tristeza y desesperanza, me encandilase y, no obstante, pocas han sido las veces en las que ha conseguido alterarme como otros libros en la misma línea lo han logrado de forma más global.