‘after a year or so of marriage, he happened upon her diary. he looked through it with interest, marvelling at the foolishness with which women occupy their time. all at once he stopped, read one sentence twice, and then examined one page after another with growing agitation.
of his wife he learned that she was unhappy, and of himself that he was an uncouth and simple-minded, if basically good-natured, man whom she had been pressured into marrying by her parents. he further read that in the foreign mountains on the other side of the valley she had left her first and last love, some blond, blue-eyed teacher who had managed to smuggle love letters even into the convent, and who had turned his back on her for good after her marriage.
for several weeks he walked around the house pensively, avoiding eye contact with anyone. impotent regret, which he had long lost the habit of feeling, was making him breathless. he said not a word to her. he waited. and after three months, he picked up her diary again and read what had been added to it. it was already less interesting than before. the entries were concerned more with the present than with the past, the despairing enthusiasm was gone and was replaced by a dull sobriety. after another six months the diary came to a definitive end, like most diaries, with everyday banalities. the pain had subsided, the past had died away, time had healed all wounds. simon breathed a sigh of relief. when after several years it seemed that his wife no longer thought of her notes, he dug up the diary from the bottom of her chest and put it in his trunk with the three keepsake stones…he had a young wife - he had won her, had won her for himself, because he had bet on his winning card, on the card of time.’