I've seen, I've checked, and I know for sure. I got the utter certainty based on careful examination. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. No alternative to my marriage, to my way of life, to my aspirations. Either I keep my Leiden and my Oxford well in mind, or I commit suicide right as I stand, or rather sit on my sofa in this Parisian banlieue.
I've just touched the bottom. It was a catabasis, the utter descent into the abyss. I pulled the brake right on the brink of depression. The Great Plague is something that I might mention as my justification. Yet sincerely speaking, I just came out of my own free will right to the brink and looked beyond. How my life could have been different. If I were actually lonely. If I were actually an immigrant. If I actually had no money on my account. If I actually belonged to this banlieue.
Yet I am a solvent citizen in my own Europe. An international scholar. An attractive, sexually active woman adored by her husband all along these last 15 years or so.
As soon as the pandemic is over and the flights out of Arabia operate again, I promise myself to offer a beautiful marriage, generously, bravely, by the ample standards of that God who loves beauty and who seems so absent in this Parisian banlieue (in spite of heads being cut off in His name). I will take my husband to the Concertgebouw, like in old times, and to Casa Rosso. I will pay for the two tickets from my own pocket, in an ostensive way, licking the traditional penis-shaped Amsterdamer lollipop.