Monday, June 11, 2012

Do You Know This Woman?

"It's true that in her life she had seen many things through to their ultimate consequences, but only unimportant things, like prolonging a quarrel that could easily have been resolved with an apology, or not phoning a man she was in love with, simply because she thought the relationship would lead nowhere. She was intransigent about the easy things, as if trying to prove to herself how strong and indifferent she was, when, in fact, she was just a fragile woman, who had never been an outstanding student, never excelled at school sports, and had never succeeded in keeping the peace at home.

She had overcome her minor defects, only to be defeated by matters of fundamental importance. She had managed to appear utterly independent, when she was, in fact, desperately in need of company. When she entered a room, everyone would turn to look at her, but she almost always ended the night alone, in the convent, watching a TV that she hadn't even bothered to have properly tuned in. She gave all her friends the impression that she was a woman to be envied, and she expended most of her energy in trying to behave in accordance with the image she had created of herself.

Because of that, she had never had enough energy to be herself, a person who, like everyone else in the world, needed other people in order to be happy. But other people were so difficult. They reacted in unpredictable ways, they surrounded themselves with defensive walls, they behaved just as she did, pretending they didn't care about anything. When someone more open to life appeared, they either rejected them outright, or made them suffer, considering them inferior, 'ingenuous'.

She may have impressed a lot of people with her strength and determination, but where had it left her? In the void. Utterly alone. In Villete. In the anteroom of death."

- Paulo Coelho, 'Veronika Decides to Die'

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