Finally, after the interminable coffee, and a shot, and another shot, I get carried over the threshold of my new pad like a bride. A second-rate hotel room: armchair scuffed up but roomy, radiator and sink both without hot water, the inevitable discord between the flowers on the upholstery and those on the bedspread; and the mirror, always too high up, and the spotted and yellowed sheets of newspaper on the closet shelves. I stow my belongings, spreading them out as much as possible: in the daylight, Ginette’s old pants lack glory, but the point is to fill up space.
I put my smokes and matches on the chair, near the head of the bed; and, quietly, I get undressed. Julien, after turning the key in the lock, has stretched out in his shirt sleeves and gone right to sleep. I’ve already noticed in him this ability to pass instantly from wakefulness into sleep: when he felt like sharing my rectangle, he would say good night to me and be asleep before I could answer him. Then I would amuse myself by exploring, with my fingertips, that body I had never really seen clearly and that had just been, a few seconds earlier, mine. What a small thing that was after all, what a small mark it left on our solitudes!”
— Albertine Sarrazin, Astragal [1965, trans. Patsy Southgate]