How I wish I were there! Selfishly, first of all, for the pleasure of being with you and out of London and the Museum. And then unselfishly, for your sake—because it worries me, the thought of your being all alone in Paris. Theoretically, with my head, I know that nothing’s likely to happen to you. But all the same—I’d like to be there, protective, but invisible, so that you wouldn’t be aware of me, never feel my devotion as an importunity, but so that you should always have the confidence that comes from being two instead of one. Not, alas, that I should be a very good second in a tight corner. (How I hate myself sometimes for my shameful inadequacy!) But better, perhaps, than nobody. And I’d never encroach, never trespass or interfere. I’d be non-existent; except when you needed me. My reward would be just being in your neighborhood, just seeing and hearing you—the reward of someone who comes out of a dusty place into a garden, and looks at the flowering trees, and listens to the fountains.
“I’ve never told you before (was afraid you’d laugh— and you may laugh; I don’t mind: for after all it’s your laughter), but the truth is that I sit, sometimes, spinning stories to myself—stories in which I’m always with you, as I’ve told you I’d like to be with you now in Paris. Watching over you, keeping you from harm and in return being refreshed by your loveliness, and warmed by your fire, and dazzled by your bright purity…”
Angrily, as though the irony in it had been intentional, Helen threw the letter aside. But an hour later she had picked it up again and was re-reading it from the beginning. After all, it was comforting to know that there was somebody who cared.
Eyeless in Gaza
Aldous Huxley 1936