“Three Comrades” (Erich Maria Remarque)
I had the feeling of slipping down a smooth bottomless pit. It had nothing to do with Breuer and the people. It had nothing to do with Pat even. It was the melancholy secret that reality can arouse desires but never satisfy them; that love begins with a human being but does not end in him; and that everything can be there: a human being, love, happiness, life — and that yet in some terrible way it is always too little, and grows ever less the more it seems.
The music enchanted the air. It was like the south wind, like a warm night, like swelling sails beneath the stars, completely and utterly unreal... It made everything spacious and colourful, the dark stream of life seemed pulsing in it; there were no burdens any more, no limits; there existed only glory and melody and love, so that one simply could not realize that, at the same time as this music was, outside there ruled poverty and torment and despair.
I did not want to think so much about her. I wanted to take her as an unexpected, delightful gift, that had come and would go again — nothing more. I meant not to give room to the thought that it could ever be more. I knew too well that all love has the desire for eternity and that therein lies its eternal torment. Nothing lasts. Nothing.