“This is exactly what gentleness is”

“Another day, in the rain, we’re waiting for the boat at the lake; from happiness, this time, the same outburst of annihilation sweeps through me. This is how it happens sometimes, misery or joy engulfs me, without any particular tumult ensuing: nor any pathos: I am dissolved, not dismembered; I fall, I flow, I melt. Such thoughts—grazed, touched, tested (the way you test the water with your foot)—can recur. Nothing solemn about them. This is exactly what gentleness is.”

– Roland Barthes (1977), A lover’s discourse: fragments