Nothing absorbs a human being more completely than jealousy. When K lost her mother a year earlier, it was certainly an event more tragic than one of R’s escapades. And yet the death of her mother, whom she loved immensely, caused her less pain. The pain of her grief was benignly multicoloured: there was sadness in it, and longing, emotion, regret (had K taken sufficient care of her? Had she neglected her?), even a serene smile. The pain was benignly dispersed in all directions: K’s thoughts rebounded from her mother’s coffin and flew of toward memories, toward her own childhood and still further, toward her mother’s childhood, they flew off towards dozens of practical concerns, they flew off toward the future, which was wide open and where as consolation (yes, in those exceptional days her husband was her consolation), R’s figure stood outlined..
The pain of jealousy, on the contrary, did not move about in space, it turned like a drill on a single point. There was no dispersal. If her mother’s death had opened the door to a future (different, more lonely and also more adult), the suffering caused by her husband’s infidelity opened no future at all. Everything was concentrated on a single (and perpetually present) image of an unfaithful body, on a single (and perpetually present) reproach. When she lost her mother K could listen to music, she could even read; when she was jealous she could do nothing at all.