What was that I was thinking there, talking to myself again, telling myself stories that were really true –
That friend of mine once, who used to parallel-talk with me – Ruth – I’d be telling her of the latest troubles of my life and, instead of responding to that, she’d talk about her problems.
She was a believer in love, a perfect love to be found somewhere, some day. She told her girls that one day, they would fall in love . . .
She disappeared at a time in my life of great crisis – she couldn’t cope with that – that is my belief – she had to abscond or go under herself.
Mind you, lots of people I had known disappeared then. You wonder what it was you’d done, exactly.
And there was that one, who wanted to come back, trying to catch me that day when she was with a new friend – I ran into her in the village – and it was this, and that . . . and she said, “I know! Why don’t I come round to yours one day, and . . .”
And I said, with no hesitation whatsoever, “Oh no! I couldn’t go through all that again!”
I’d wondered what I would say to her if we’d met, and that was it. It was just what I thought, and what I said. I didn’t even consider the new friend next to her. She didn’t even signify.
No. This woman – Hortense – this old friend of mine, had done me no good whatsoever, and I wasn’t going to fall for that again . . .