During the first part of your life, you only become aware of happiness once you have lost it. Then an age comes, a second one, in which you already know, at the moment when you begin to experience true happiness, that you are, at the end of the day, going to lose it. When I met Belle, I understood that I had just entered this second age. I also understood that I hadn’t reached the third age, in which anticipation of the loss of happiness prevents you from living.
Your only chance of survival, if you are sincerely smitten, lies in hiding this fact from the woman you love, of feigning a casual detachment under all circumstances. What sadness there is in this simple observation! What an accusation against man! However, it had never occurred to me to contest this law, nor to imagine disobeying it: love makes you weak, and the weaker of the two is oppressed, tortured and finally killed by the other, who in his or her turn oppresses, tortures and kills without having evil intentions, without even getting pleasure from it, with complete indifference; that’s what men, normally, call love.