Half past twelve. The time has quickly passed since nine o'clock when I first turned up the lamp and sat down here. I've been sitting without reading, without speaking. With whom should I speak, so utterly alone within this house? The apparition of my youthful body, since nine o'clock when I first turned up the lamp, has come and found me and reminded me of shuttered perfumed rooms and of pleasure spent—what wanton pleasure! And it also brought before my eyes streets made unrecognizable by time, bustling city centres that are no more and theatres and cafés that existed long ago. The apparition of my youthful body came and also brought me cause for pain: deaths in the family; separations; the feelings of my loved ones, the feelings of those long dead which I so little valued. Half past twelve. How the time has passed. Half past twelve. How the years have passed.
The Next Table
He can't be more than twenty-two.
And yet I'm certain it was at least that many years ago
that I enjoyed the very same body.
This isn't some erotic fantasy.
I've only just come into the casino
and there hasn't been time enough to drink.
I tell you, that's the very same body I once enjoyed.
And if I can't recall precisely where—that means nothing.
Now that he's sitting there at the next table,
I recognize each of his movements—and beneath his clothes
I see those beloved, naked limbs again.