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Colette

The Vagabond

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    o you think a ‘new love,’ as you call it, destroys the memory of the first, or . . . reawakens it
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    don’t like the future! To prepare for it! It prepares for itself without anybody’s help, and it arrives so quickly . . .”
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    Come now, don’t start again! I meant that you’ve gotten old this week! You’ve gotten old today! Tomorrow, or in an hour, you’ll be five years or ten years younger .
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    There was no way to be mistaken: it was love, your first love. It was, and it will never be the same again! Though a simple girl, you had no trouble recognizing it, and you didn’t deny it either your body or your childlike heart. It was the love that isn’t foreseen, chosen, or reasoned out. And it will never be the same again! It took from you that which you can give only once: your trust, the religious awe of the first caress, the novelty of your tears, the flower of your first suffering! . . . Love again if you can; no doubt it will be granted to you, so that, at the peak of your wretched happiness, you can be reminded that, in love, nothing counts but the first love; so that you can undergo, at every moment, the punishment of remembering, the horror of making comparisons! Even when you say, ‘Oh, this is better,’ you’ll suffer from the realization that nothing is good if it isn’t unique! T
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    Attached to me . . . That’s exactly what I’m afraid of, Renée: it isn’t the path that leads to love . . .”
    He’s so absolutely right that I make no protest.
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    had returned to the beginning of my life.
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    savage childhood was watching me go by, dazzled by the rising sun . . .
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    That’s all I need! Can’t you see him, with his big hand on his big heart, saying, ‘I’m not like other men . . .’? Isn’t that what he’d say? At such moments men always say the same thing that women do.”
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    Departures sadden and intoxicate me, it’s true, and some part of me is always left hanging on the places I travel through—new countries, clear or cloudy skies, oceans in the pearly-gray rain—it’s left clinging so passionately that I feel as if I’m leaving behind me a thousand little ghosts that look like me, rolling in the waves, rocking on the leaves, scattered in the clouds .
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    just when I was beginning to feel in myself, like a set of jewelry suddenly put on again, t
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    the best and the worst literature tries to teach me that every other voice falls silent when that of the senses has spoken. What is one to believe?
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    We indulge in melancholy afternoons that leave us exhausted, with bitter faces that have grown old, with mouths dry from repeating so many distressing things; and we swear we won’t begin again
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    It’s no longer the same fatigue. At twenty, without a second thought, I would have enjoyed my temporary weariness in a calm, half-dreamy state. Today fatigue is starting to become bitter to me, like a sadness of my body . . .
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    , have I changed all that much since turning twenty?
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    The thin pink mist filters the light of a dulled sun
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    She’s simply “made of woman,” and that’s sufficient.
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    You can get used to not eating, to pain in your teeth or stomach, you can even get used to the absence of a person you love, but you don’t get used to jealousy.
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    me, certain phrases are enough to recreate the fragrance and color of things I’ve experienced,
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    that patient struggle with sentences, which unbend and curl up like a tamed animal,
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    They know they ate rats,
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