Monthly Archives: April 2011


Anyway… she’s asleep, turned away from me on her side. The usual stratagems and repositionings have failed to induce narcosis in me, so I decide to settle myself against the soft zigzag of her body. As I move and start to nestle my shin against a calf whose muscles are loosened by sleep, she senses what I’m doing, and without waking reaches up with her left hand and pulls the hair off her shoulders on to the top of her head, leaving me her bare nape to nestle in. Each time she does this I feel a shudder of love at the exactness of this sleeping courtesy. My eyes prickle with tears, and I have to stop myself from waking her up to remind me of her love. At that moment, unconsciously, she’s touched some secret fulcrum of my feelings for her. She doesn’t know, of course; I’ve never told her of this tiny, precise pleasure of the night. Though I’m telling her now, I suppose…

Julian Barnes from A History of the World in 10.5 Chapters


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