352. “I quickly learned that a book carefully arranged before your face was a bulletproof shield, an asbestos wall, a cloak of invisibility. I learned to take refuge behind books, to become, as my mother and father called me, ‘the absentminded professor-’ They screamed at me, but I couldn’t hear. I was reading. I was writing. I was safe.”
353. “I had noticed, for example, how all my infatuations dissolved as soon as I really became friends with a man, became sympathetic to his problems, listened to him kvetch about his wife, or ex-wives, his mother, his children. After that I would like him, perhaps even love him – but without passion.”
355. “I am unimaginably old – fifty. Only witches live to be fifty! Good women die in childbirth at seventeen as I nearly did. By fifty I should be dead or a crone – with my dark looks and my somewhat crooked spine – which I have always disguised with capes of multicolored silk. My youth is gone, but my vanity is not. How can I still dream of love at fifty? I must be mad!”
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