Ingeborg Bachmann: Three Paths to the Lake

It wouldn’t do to return to Paris and tell Philippe he should take his pajamas, his razor and his few books and get out, it wouldn’t be that easy, and there were still things which had to be done for his sake. The phrases–I don’t need you, I don’t need anyone, it doesn’t have anything to do with you, it’s just me, and I don’t feel like explaining it!–were easy to think but not easy to say, just like that, in Paris, just as she couldn’t very well say: My brother has gotten married and it’s over between us, I hope you understand. There was only one hope she didn’t and wouldn’t allow herself to hold on to: that if, in almost thirty years, she hadn’t found a man, not a single one, who was exclusively significant for her, not a single one who was really a man and not an eccentric, a weakling or one of the needy the world was full of–then the man simply didn’t exist, and as long as this New Man did not exist, one could only be friendly and kind to one another, for a while. There was nothing more to make of it, and it would be strong and mysterious and have real greatness, something to which each could once against submit.