The Blue Notebook
I fell asleep. When I woke it was getting on for morning, I could see my ceiling lying pale and stagnant, disturbed by lights from the street, and the sky was a full purple, wet with a wintry moonlight. My body cried out with being alone because Saul was not there. I did not sleep again. I was dissolved in the hateful emotion, the woman-betrayed. I lay with my teeth clenched, refusing to think, knowing that everything I thought would come out of the solemn wet emotion. Then I heard Saul come in, he came in silent and furtive and went straight upstairs.
This time I didn’t go up. I knew that this meant he would resent me in the morning, because his guilt, his need to betray, needed the constant reassurance of my going to him.
When he came down it was late, nearly lunch-time, and I knew this was the man who hated me. He said, very cold: ‘Why do you let me sleep so late?’ I said: ‘Why should I have to tell you what time to get up?’ He said: ‘I have to go out to lunch. It’s a business lunch.’ I knew from how he said it it was not a business lunch, and that he had said the words in that way so that I should know it was not.
I felt very ill again, and I went into my room and set out the notebooks. He came in and stood by the door, looking at me. He said: ‘I suppose you’re writing a record of my crimes!’ He sounded pleased that I was. I was putting away three of the notebooks. He said: ‘Why do you have four notebooks?’ I said: ‘Obviously, because it’s been necessary to split myself up, but from now on I shall be using one only.’ I was interested to hear myself say this, because until then I hadn’t known it. He was standing in the door, holding on to the frame of the doorway with both hands. His eyes were narrowed at me in pure hate. I saw the white door with its old-fashioned unnecessary mouldings, very clear. I thought how the mouldings on the door recall a Greek temple, that’s where they come from, the pillars of a Greek temple; and how they in turn recall an Egyptian temple, and how that in turn recalls the bundle of reeds and the crocodile. There he stood, the American, clutching this history in both hands for fear he would fall, hating me, the jailor. I said, as I had said before: ‘Don’t you think it’s extraordinary that we are both people whose personalities, whatever that word may mean, are large enough to include all sorts of things, politics and literature and art, but now that we’re mad everything concentrates down to one small thing, that I don’t want you to go off and sleep with someone else, and that you must lie to me about it?’ For a moment he was himself, thinking about this, and then he faded away or dissolved and the furtive antagonist said: ‘You’re not going to trap me that way, don’t you think it.’ He went upstairs, and when he came down again, a few minutes later, he said cheerfully: ‘Gee, I’ll be late if I don’t go. See you later, baby.’