“Friends: none. Just a few acquaintances who think they get on with me and would perhaps be sorry if I got knocked down by a train or it rained on the day of the funeral.
"The natural reward for my withdrawal from life has been an inability, which I created in others, to sympathize with me. There’s an aura of cold around me, a halo of ice that repels others. I still haven’t managed not to feel the pain of my solitude. It is so difficult to achieve the distinction of spirit that makes isolation seem a haven of peace free from all anguish.
"I never doubted for a moment that they would all betray me and yet I was always shocked when they did. Even when what I was expecting to happen did happen, for me it was always unexpected."
Fernando Pessoa, “Lucid diary” The Book of Disquiet. London: Serpent’s Tail (1991), pp.152-153.
The late Can Cibelik told me I needed to read Pessoa, the Portuguese writer who died in 1935 at the age of 47. I came across this book the other day. It was in a broken suitcase filled with books that we'd neglected for two years at the back of a chaotic front closet. Our unpacking is still not finished. My life changed so suddenly a few years ago, that we were just relieved to have got out of our last situation alive. Our downsizing was so drastic and so sudden that I’d assumed Pessoa had got lost or been donated along with hundreds of others. We're still sorting it out. I was so happy to see that Fernando, in particular, had survived our great period of attrition; because so much of the book, as with the passage above, reads to me, uncannily, as though it were drawn from my own brain.