He was so happy exercising his little legs by trotting bravely along grassy paths, calling out to the cattle with the silver bells around their necks! In the modest hotel in which we were staying he was adored for his smile and treated as if he were an exquisite floral specimen the scent of which could be absorbed with a kiss; a creature who came from afar, from a part of Italy which these pensive, nostalgic and somewhat taciturn northerners could hardly point to on the map . .
My husband was also happy in the mountains that were new to him – he overflowed with emphatic exclamations and naive observations, as confident as ever in his own judgement, proud of spending his savings in such a refined manner, and eager to receive my explicit gratitude. And whenever he caught me looking sad, he would become indignant, as if he had been defrauded. What kind of a woman was I? Nothing was good enough for me!
When repentant, he would egg me on to come up with some project for when we got home, to try again the distraction that was writing . . . Why didn’t I start by taking inspiration from the magnificent place we were staying in?
I listened wearily, as you listen to someone you meet in the street who asks after your health and gives advice without knowing the first thing about you. At that stage I did not know myself just what it was that I needed. All I knew was that my solitude, my mental isolation, was deepening and looming large; for while I made a certain effort to share my impressions with my husband, to be superficially an open book to him, I understood well enough that there was a substratum to my life that remained untouched; and that, even if I had wanted it, I could not be aided in the ongoing work of fathoming those depths. And I was gripped constantly by something like an inner tremor . . . How can we recall such periods as this? Some mornings we have the clear sensation of having spent a night full of dreams and tremendous visions, of having lived fleetingly, in semi-wakefulness, instants of a deeper life; but we cannot manage to reconstruct those visions, or reconfigure our nocturnal trains of thought; and we become aware subsequently that any crucial action of ours comes as no surprise to our inner self, because our essential self has already been forewarned of it.