But there were too many points at which the other self could invade the self he wanted to preserve, and there were too many forms of invasion: certain words, sounds, lights, actions his hands or feet performed, and if he did nothing at all, heard and saw nothing, the shouting of some triumphant inner voice that shocked him and cowed him.
Perhaps love is a minor madness. And as with madness, it's unendurable alone. The one person who can relieve us is of course the sole person we cannot go to: the one we love. So instead we seek out allies, even among strangers and wives, fellow patients who, if they can't touch the edge of our particular sorrow, have felt something that cuts nearly as deep.
Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight, who meet and observe each other daily - no hourly - and are nevertheless compelled to keep up the pose of an indifferent stranger, neither greeting nor addressing each other, whether out of etiquette or their own whim.
An overwhelming curiosity makes me ask myself what their lives might be like. I want to know what they do, where they're from, their names, what they're thinking about at that moment, what they regret, what they hope for, their past loves, their current dreams ... and if they happen to be women (especially the young ones) then the urge becomes intense.How quickly would you want to see her naked, admit it, and naked through to her heart. How you try to learn where she comes from, where she's going, why she's here and not elsewhere!While letting your eyes wander all over her, you imagine love affairs for her, you ascribe her deep feelings. You think of the bedroom she must have, and a thousand things besides ... right down to the battered slippers into which she must slip her feet when she gets out of bed.
Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?
But what Dakota most enjoyed about the beginning of winter was the crispness of the air (that practically demanded the wearing of knits) and the way that tough New Yorkers - on the street, in elevators, in subways - were suddenly willing to risk a smile. To make a connection with a stranger. To finally see one another after strenuously avoiding eye contact all year.
In my experience - and this is a very awkward way to put it, since I don't really know what the word means - the strangest people in one's life are the people one has known and loved, still know and will always love. Here, both I and the vocabulary are both in trouble, for does not imply . A stranger is a stranger is a stranger, simply, and you watch the stranger to anticipate his next move. But the people who elicit from you a depth of attention and wonder which we helplessly call love are perpetually making moves which cannot possibly be anticipated. Eventually, you realize that it never occurred to you to anticipate their next move, not only because you couldn't but because you didn't have to: it was not a question of moving on the next move, but simply, of being present. Danger, true, you try to anticipate and you prepare yourself, without knowing it, to stand in the way of death. For the strangest people in the world are those people recognized, beneath one's senses, by one's soul - the people utterly indispensable for one's journey.