I saw a clerk in Dari-Mart this week who I took for a goddess. Her image has plagued me ever since, but she is no more than twenty while I am 55 and married and would be at a loss what to do with her if I had her. Ah, but she was beautiful. I can but grieve that the years have gotten by me. Sometimes, I wish that I had been more adventurous, although I cannot say that I would have been better off. I am content enough on my good days—those being the ones on which I am enjoying my work and am not obsessed by some woman I saw in a store.
Women have ever been the bane of my existence. If all the moments I spent lusting after one woman or another was added together, they would amount to years of pain and frustration from which absolutely nothing good has come.
When I ponder the nature of woman, of how frail she is and of how soon she loses her beauty and returns to the same dust from which I arose, I see that the esteem in which I have held her is a function of hormones and psychology rather than something innate to her being, yet it has taken me decades to reach this awareness, and even now I can scarcely believe it. I might liken myself to a man in the desert who is drawn to a mirage. Although he recognizes it for what it is, his desperate thirst makes it almost irresistible. He can but remind himself again and again that to expend energy on it would be disastrous.