I can imagine, now, how it has been, Jean. But can you find any peace here? With all these things about? You are so sensitive—lamps, and pictures, and rugs—these aren’t just furniture to you, they are images of the past. Won’t they be, too—real? Too personal? Won’t you feel more at liberty with yourself if you create your own atmosphere?
Ah, they are real enough! That table is a winter in Munich; the samovar is Warsaw one night in May; the lucerna is Rome ... and all that those places mean to me. I never realized how things could be alive—be personal—until I was left all alone in the midst of these.
There, don’t you see? They’re so dominating. I knew you before all this.... I wish you would get away—be yourself.
No. I shall stay here. As close as possible.
But really, Jean! I’m thinking of your work. Perhaps you don’t appreciate what an insidious drug memory can be. Especially the memory of unhappiness. Let’s be frank, Jean, for the sake of your future. You have been unhappy.
Unhappy? Yes, I have been outrageously unhappy! Years of it! Sharp arrows and poisoned wine. I wanted to die....
You read a play by Strindberg, and you say it’s very strong, very artistic, but all the while you believe it is only the nightmare of a diseased mind. It’s just a play—you shut the book and return to “real” life, thankfully. Well, the Strindberg play has been my real life, and real life my play, my impossible dream. You can’t imagine how terrifying it is to feel the situation develop around you. Two bodies caught naked in an endless wilderness of thorns. Every movement one makes to free the other only wounds him the more. Two souls, each innocent and aspiring, bound together by serpents, like the Laocoon.... It is one of those things that are absolutely impossible ... and yet true.
I’ll help you pack. Now. You must!
We had the deepest respect and admiration for one another, but somehow we never walked in step. His emotion repressed mine, my emotion repressed his. Sometimes one was the slave, sometimes the other. We couldn’t both be free at the same time. There was always something to hide, to be afraid of.... Not words nor acts, but moods. It passed over from one soul to the other like invisible rays. And we couldn’t separate. That was part of it. We just went on and on....