The Night in Lisbon (Die Nacht von Lissabon)

I had been in danger so often that I was able to forget it the moment it was past—now I wanted only one thing, in this room with the smell of Helen’s perfume and clothes and the bed and the twilight: to possess her with everything that was in me, and if there was one thing that tormented me and pierced the flat dull sense of loss, it was the realization that nature wouldn’t let me possess her even more fully and deeply. If only I could spread myself over her like a blanket, if only I could have had a thousand hands and mouths, if only I could have held her in a perfect concave mold, skin to skin without intervening space—but even then there would be a last regret, for still it would be only skin to skin instead of blood in blood: we could be together, but never completely united.

chapter 6