Monday, 6 April 2009

the outsider

"It was soon after that that she wrote to me. And it was from that point on that things I've never liked talking about began. But after all, I musn't exaggerate and it was easier for me than for others. When I was first imprisoned, though, the worst thing was that I kept thinking like a free man. For instance, I'd suddenly want to be on a beach and to be able to walk down to the sea. When I imagined the sound of the first little waves under the soles of my feet, the feel of the water on my body and the freedom it would give me, I'd suddenly realize how closed in I was by my prison walls. But that only lasted a few months. After that, I thought like a prisoner. I'd look forward to my daily walk in the courtyard or to my lawyer's visits. And I managed quite well the rest of the time. I often thought in those days that even if I'd been made to live in a hollow tree trunk, with nothing to do but look up at the bit of sky overhead, I'd gradually have got used to it. I'd have looked forward to seeing the birds fly past or clouds run together just as here I looked forward to seeing my lawyer's curious ties and just as, in another world, I used to wait for Saturdays to embrace Marie's body. And come to think of it, I wasn't in a hollow tree. There were others unhappier than I was. Anyway it was an idea of mother's and she often used to repeat it, that you ended up getting used to everything."

The Outsider by Albert Camus (1942)
Translated by Joseph Laredo (1982)

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