"One thing you who had secure or happy childhoods should understand about those of us who did not: we who control our feelings, who avoid conflicts at all costs or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, self-critical, compulsive, workaholic, and above all survivors—we are not that way from perversity, and we can not just relax and let it go. We have learned to cope in ways you never had to."
"A man from nowhere, without a past, without a future, without a present. I wanted nothing; I was no one. I advanced step by step towards the horizon which receded with every step; drops of water sprang forth and fell to earth again, each instant destroying the last. My hands were forever empty: an outsider, a dead man. They were men, they were alive. I was not one of them. I had nothing to hope for."
"Today it was me they were looking at, but their gaze slipped over me: in my heart, there was not a spark. Buried beneath the cold lava, beneath the ashes, the old volcano was more dead than the craters of the moon."
"I am a worthless, miserable, useless man. Only a man equally miserable and suffering could love or esteem me now. Good God! How I loathe myself! How bitterly I hate my voice, my hands, my thoughts, these clothes, each step I take!"
'I'm not made to live in society,' I said light-heartedly.
'You're not made to live alone.'
Alone. I could smell the scents of the garden around the mound teeming with ants, and once again I felt the taste of death in my mouth. The sky was bare, the plain deserted; suddenly, my heart was empty.
"Nowhere was I at home; the house in which I lived had never been a home to me: it was an encampment. This century was not my century, and this life of mine which was so relentlessly prolonged was not my life."
Again she blushed and looked at me in a sort of stupor. ‘I’m sorry for you,’ she said. ‘I’m very sorry for you.’
The sadness in her voice was so sincere that I made no attempt to answer her. I stood there without moving, as if nailed to the floor. Was there someone who still existed behind the phantom I had become, someone with a living heart?
"I hated old men because they were aware of their whole lives behind them, round and full like a huge cake. And I hated young people because they could sense their whole future ahead of them. I loathed that look of enthusiasm and intelligence that animated everyone’s face."
"That night a dog was howling at death, and now, inside me, I heard that long plaintive cry rising up towards the sphere of suspended light. Never would the light of that dead star be extinguished, and neither would that bitter taste of solitude and eternity that it was my destiny to endure ever fade away."