T H E S T R A N G E R

” I had a hard time getting up, because I was tired from the day before.  While I was shaving, I wondered what I was going to do and I decided to go for a swim.  I caught the streetcar to go to the public beach down at the harbor. Once there, I dove into the channel.  There were lots of young people.  In the water I ran into Marie Cardona, a former typist in our office whom I’d had a thing for at the time.  She did too, I think.  But she’d left soon afterward and we didn’t have the time.  I helped her onto the float and as I did, I brushed against her breasts, I was still in the water when she was already lying flat on her stomach on the float.  She turned toward me.  Her hair was in her eyes and she was laughing.  I hoisted myself up next to her.  It was nice, and, sort of joking around, I let my head fall back and rest on her stomach.  She didn’t say anything so I left it there.  I had the whole sky in my eyes and it was blue and gold.  On the back of my neck I could feel Marie’s heart beating softly.  We lay on the float for a long time, half asleep.  When the sun go too hot, she dove off and I followed.  I caught up with her, put my arm around her waist, and we swam together.  She laughed the whole time.”

the stranger • albert camus • 1946

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