That was the most perfect of our meetings. But these meetings, these partings, finally destroy us.
But if one day you do not come after breakfast, if one day I see you in some looking-glass perhaps looking after another, if the telephone buzzes and buzzes in your empty room, I shall then, after unspeakable anguish, I shall then—for there is no end to the folly of the human heart—seek another, find another, you. Meanwhile, let us abolish the ticking of time’s clock with one blow. Come closer.
Why, look at the clock ticking on the mantelpiece? Time passes, yes. And we grow old. But to sit with you, alone with you, here in London, in this firelit room, you there, I here, is all. The world ransacked to its uttermost ends, and all its heights stripped and gathered of their flowers, holds no more. Look at the firelight running up and down the gold thread in the curtain. The fruit it circles droops heavy. It falls on the toe of your boot, it gives your face a red rim—I think it is the firelight and not your face; I think those are books against the wall, and that a curtain, and that perhaps an armchair. But when you come everything changes. The cups and saucers changed when you came in this morning. There can be no doubt, I thought, pushing aside the newspaper, that our mean lives, unsightly as they are, put on splendour and have meaning only under the eyes of love.
Soon he had covered ten pages and more with poetry. He was fluent, evidently, but he was abstract. Vice, Crime, Misery were the personages of his drama; there were Kings and Queens of impossible territories; horrid plots confounded them; noble sentiments suffused them; there was never a word said as he himself would have said it, but all was turned with a fluency and sweetness which, considering his age—he was not yet seventeen—and that the sixteenth century had still some years of its course to run, were remarkable enough. At last, however, he came to a halt. He was describing, as all young poets are for ever describing, nature, and in order to match the shade of green precisely he looked (and here he showed more audacity than most) at the thing itself, which happened to be a laurel bush growing beneath the window. After that, of course, he could write no more. Green in nature is one thing, green in literature another. Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to pieces. The shade of green Orlando now saw spoilt his rhyme and split his metre. Moreover, nature has tricks of her own. Once look out of a window at bees among flowers, at a yawning dog, at the sun setting, once think ‘how many more suns shall I see set’, etc. etc. (the thought is too well known to be worth writing out) and one drops the pen, takes one’s cloak, strides out of the room, and catches one’s foot on a painted chest as one does so.
that was the first thought i had when we first met. i had contemplated not seeing you again.
but you were so nice then. and then again after. you kept coming back. i couldn’t help but try to like you.
since october i’ve tried. and yesterday as i was with someone else i realized that i love you.
as we were walking today i sensed an inkling of indifference from you, one that i reserved not too long ago. my heart slackened in resignation. the gut was right all along. the heart had triumphed over instinct. but for what?
i really tried.
and now im overwhelmed.
Settle down, I said to myself, things that come with time will always be better
Observe the herd which is grazing beside you. It does not know what yesterday or today is. It springs around, eats, rests, digests, jumps up again, and so from morning to night and from day to day, with its likes and dislikes closely tied to the peg of the moment, and thus is neither melancholy nor weary. To witness this is difficult for man, because he boasts to himself that his human condition is better than the beast’s and yet looks with jealousy at its happiness. For he wishes only to live like the beast, neither weary with things nor in pain, and yet he wants it in vain, because he does not desire it as the animal does. One day the man demands of the beast: “Why do you not talk to me about your happiness and only gaze at me?” The beast wants to answer, too, and say: “That comes about because I always immediately forget what I wanted to say.” But by then the beast has already forgotten this reply and remains silent, so that the man keeps on wondering about it.
But he also wonders about himself, that he is not able to learn to forget and that he always hangs onto the past. No matter how far or how fast he may run, the chain runs with him. It is something amazing: the moment, in one sudden motion there, in one sudden motion gone, before nothing, afterwards nothing, nevertheless comes back again as a ghost and disturbs the tranquillity of a later moment. A leaf is continuously released from the roll of time, falls out, flutters away—and suddenly flutters back again into the man’s lap. For the man says, “I remember,” and envies the beast, which immediately forgets and sees each moment really perish, sink back in cloud and night, and vanish forever. In this way the beast lives unhistorically. For it goes into the present like a number without any odd fraction left over; it does not know how to play a part, hides nothing, and appears in each moment exactly and entirely what it is. Thus, a beast can be nothing other than honest. The human being, by contrast, braces himself against the large and ever-increasing burden of the past, which pushes him down or bows him over. It makes his way difficult, like an invisible and dark weight, which he can for appearances’ sake at some point deny and which he is only too happy to deny in his interactions with his peers, in order to awaken their envy. And so it moves him, as if he imagined a lost paradise, to see the grazing herd or, something more closely familiar, the child, which does not yet have a past to deny and plays in blissful blindness between the fences of the past and future. Nonetheless, this game must be upset for the child. It will be summoned all too soon out of its forgetfulness. For it learns to understand the expression “It was,” that password with which struggle, suffering, and weariness come over human beings, so as to remind him what his existence basically is—a past tense that is never over and done with. If death finally brings the longed-for forgetting, nevertheless, in the process, at the same moment it destroys the present and life and thus impresses its seal on that knowledge that existence is only an uninterrupted living in the past [Gewesensein], something which exists for the purpose of self-denial, self-destruction, and self-contradiction.
today i told you how i missed you sometimes. and you told me how the bed looks strange when im not there.