Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Absentminded Caress

Text 138 of Julio Ramón Ribeyro's Prosas apátridas:

For ten years, when I worked at Agence France-Presse, I went almost every day to the gardens of the Palais-Royal to walk around the galleries for a few minutes before or after lunch and, when I had no money, instead of lunch. And what is left in me of all those walks, good God, what is left? What good was that investment of hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life? Good for nothing, except to leave in my memory something like a foolish image of postcard-like precision. We have the idea that our lives have goals and we think that all our acts, especially those that are repeated, have some hidden meaning and must bear fruit. But that's not the way it is. Most of our acts are useless, sterile. Our lives are woven in a gray and flat weave and only here and there does a flower or a design suddenly emerge. Maybe our only valuable and fertile acts are the gentle words we sometimes utter, a bit of boldness, an absentminded caress, the hours spent reading or writing a book. And nothing more.

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