‘It always interests me,’ said Pierre with astonishment.
‘But you never ask me questions spontaneously.’
‘I feel that as soon as you have something to say, you say it to me,’ said Pierre.
He stared at her a little uneasily.
‘When did it happen?’
‘What?’ said Françoise.
‘That I didn’t ask question?’
‘Several times recently,’ said Françoise with a little laugh. You looked as if you were thinking of somthing else.’
She hesitated, doubtful. Confronted with Pierre’s trust, she was ashamed. Every time she had kept silence with regard to him she had prepared an ambush into which he had quietly fallen. He did not suspect that she had been laying traps for him. Wasn’t she the one who had changed? Wasn’t it she who was lying when she spoke of blissful love, of happiness, of jealousy overcome? Her words, her behaviour no longer corresponded fully to her deeper feelings. And he continued to believe her. Was that faith or indifference?
At the next table a rather tired blonde and a very young man were affectionately holding hands; the youth was talking ardently in a low voice, the woman smiling cautiously, without letting a single wrinkle furrow her once pretty face; the little professional from the hotel was dancing with a sailor, clinging tightly against him, her eyes half-closed; the attractive brunette seated on her bar stool, was munching banana slices, with an expression of boredom. Françoise smiled proudly. Each one of these men, each one of these women present here tonight was completely absorbed in living a moment of his or her insignificant individual existence. Xavière was dancing. Elisabeth was shaken by convulsions of anger and despair. And I – here I am at the very heart of the dance-hall – impersonal and free. I am watching all these lives and all these faces. If I were to turn away from them, they would disintegrate at once like a deserted landscape.