Albert Camus - The Stranger (1942)
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The papers were always talking about the debt owed to society. According to them, it had to be paid. But that doesn't speak to the imagination. What really counted was the possibility of escape, a leap to freedom, out of the implacable ritual, a wild run for it that would give whatever chance for hope there was. Of course, hope meant being cut down on some street corner, as you ran like mad, by a random bullet. But when I really thought it through, nothing was going to allow me such a luxury. Everything was against it; I would just be caught up in the machinery again.
He said firmly, "God can help you. All the men I've seen in your position turned to Him in their time of trouble." "Obviously," I replied, "they were at liberty to do so, if they felt like it." I, however, didn't want to be helped, and I hadn't time to work up interest for something that didn't interest me.
Of course, I had to own that he was right; I didn't feel much regret for what I'd done. Still, to my mind, he overdid it, and I'd have liked to have a chance of explaining to him, in a quite friendly, almost affectionate way, that I have never been able to really regret anything in all my life. I've always been far too much absorbed in the present moment, or the immediate future, to think back.
Mother died today, or maybe it was yesterday.