“Do you love me?” I asked doubtfully, and stupidly.
She burst out laughing — with the same unfathomable drunken laughter that had so charmed me earlier. It did not charm me now. Back on the veranda, that earlier laugh has somehow soared into the summer sky, an endearing cry for help addressed to some far-off Dionysus. But now she was laughing at me, and into me, the way any woman might laugh at any man held in an embrace of perhaps half an hour. It was a common, rather vulgar, laugh, an utterly godless laugh, one that could have been heard a thousand times at that moment in any of the parks of Paris and the banlieue — and how was I any different from the thousand other poor wretches who at that precise moment were preparing for the stereotypical games of love?
— from the short story “A Garden…
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