“ Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things. ”
Albert Einstein, 30 July 1947
Albert Einstein, The Human Side: New Glimpses From His Archives
From a letter in response to an Idaho farmer who named his son Albert and requesting to give the boy a few words of encouragement.
The minute I stepped off the bullet train and into Shibuya, we were no longer just friends. We ran down the streets at night, drank wine in the park, took in jazz music from cramped cafes, ate whole meals from vending machines. The city was alive all around us; I had never been so happy. This magical week turned into months of distance. Sometimes you fall in love with a city instead of the person in it.
This photograph is my proof there was that afternoon, when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen. She did love me. Look see for yourself!
“ I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. ”
“The Old Astronomer to His Pupil”
According to whether we are in the same place or separated from the other, I know you twice. There are two of you. When you are away, you are nevertheless present for me. This presence is multiform: it consists of countless images, passages, meanings, things known, landmarks, yet the whole remains marked by your absences, in that it is diffuse. It is as if your person becomes a place, your contours horizons. I live in you then like living in a country. You are everywhere. Yet in that country I can never meet you face to face.
Partir c’est mourir un peu. I was very young when I first heard this sentence quoted and it expressed a truth I already knew. I remember it now because the experience of living in you as if you were a country, the only country in the world where I can never conceivably meet you face to face, this is a little like the experience of living with the memory of the dead. What I did not know when I was very young was that nothing can take the past away: the past grows gradually around one, like a placenta for dying.
In the country which is you, I know your gestures, the intonations of your voice, the shape of every part of your body. You are not physically less real there, but you are less free.
What changes when you are there before my eyes is that you become unpredictable. What you are about to do is unknown to me. I follow you. You act. And with what you do, I fall in love again.”
And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos
“To leave is to die a little.”
“That day she was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish,’ what he meant was, ‘I love you.’”