Vera climbs into the car beside me.
"Look, there," I tell her.
"There! It's Vincent! Don't you recognize him?"
"Vincent? The one getting on the motorcycle?"
"Yes, I'm afraid he's going to go too fast. I'm really afraid for him."
"He likes to go fast? He does that too?"
"Not always. But today he'll go like a madman."
"This chateau is haunted. It will bring everyone bad luck. Please, start the car!"
"Wait a second."
I want to go on contemplating my Chevalier as he walks slowly toward the chaise. I want to relish the rhythm of his steps: the farther he goes, the slower they are. In that slowness, I seem to recognize a sign of happiness.
The coachman greets him; he stops, he brings his fingers to his nose, then he climbs up, takes his seat, huddles into a corner, his legs stretched comfortably before him; the chaise starts, soon he will drowse off, then he will wake, and all that time he will be trying to stay as close as he can to the night as it melts inexorably in the light.
I beg you, friend, be happy. I have the vague sense that on your capacity to be happy hangs our only hope.
The chaise had vanished in the mist, and I start the car.
From the final passage of Slowness, by Milan Kundera
Photo credit: T. Maxwell Wagner