One of these people, a woman, sits on the rocks to watch the sunset every afternoon. She wears a bright scarf over her dark curls; she sits with her hands clasped on one knee; her skin is burnished by prenatal suns,- her eyes, her black hair, her bosom make her look like one of the Spanish or gypsy girls in those paintings I detest.
(Although I have been making entries in this diary at regular intervals, I have not had a chance to work on the books that I hope to write as a kind of justification for my shadowy life on this earth. And yet these lines will serve as a precaution, for they will stay the same even if my ideas change. But I must not forget what I now know is true: for my own safety, I must renounce—once and for all—any help from my fellow men.)
I had nothing to hope for. That was not so horrible—and the acceptance of that fact brought me peace of mind. But now the woman has changed all that. And hope is the one thing I must fear.
She watches the sunset every afternoon; from my hiding place I watch her. Yesterday, and again today, I discovered that my nights and days wait for this hour. The woman, with a gypsy’s sensuality and a large, bright-colored scarf on her head, is a ridiculous figure. But still I feel (perhaps I only half believe this) that if she looked at me for a moment, spoke to me only once, I would derive from those simple acts the sort of stimulus a man obtains from friends, from relatives, and, most of all, from the woman he loves.
This hope (although it is against my better judgment) must have been whetted by the people who have kept me away from her: the fishermen and the bearded tennis player. Finding her with the latter today annoyed me; of course I am not jealous. But I was not able to see her yesterday either. As I was on my way to the rocks, the people who were fishing there made it impossible for me to come any closer. They did not speak to me, because I ran away before they saw me.
I tried to elude them from above—impossible. Their friends were up there, watching them fish. The sun had already set when I returned: the lonely rocks bore witness to the night.
Perhaps I am leading myself into a blunder that will have dire consequences,- perhaps this woman, tempered by so many late afternoon suns, will betray me to the police.
I may be misjudging her; but I cannot forget the power of the law. Those who are in a position to sentence others impose penalties that make us value liberty above all things.
Now, harassed by dirt and whiskers I cannot eradicate, feeling inordinately the weight of my years, I long for the benign presence of this woman, who is undoubtedly beautiful.
I am certain that the greatest difficulty of all will be to survive her first impression of me. But surely she will not judge me by my appearance alone.