Here in my room

My one fear – surely nothing worse can either be said or listened to – is that I shall never be able to possess you. At best I would be confined, like an unthinkingly faithful dog, to kissing your casually proffered hand, which would not be a sign of love, but of the despair of the animal condemned to silence and eternal separation. I would sit beside you and, as has happened, feel the breath and life of your body at my side, yet in reality be further from you than now, here in my room. I would never be able to attract your attention, and it would be lost to me altogether when you look out of the window, or lay your head in your hands. You and I would ride past the entire world, hand in hand, seemingly united, and none of it would be true. In short, though you might lean towards me far enough for you to be in danger, I would be excluded from you for ever.

— Kafka, letter to Felice (tr. J. Stern and E. Duckworth)

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