'You think,' he persisted, 'that my life is shameful because my encounters are. And they are. But you should ask yourself why they are.'
‘Why are they—shameful?’ I asked him.
‘Because there is no affection in them, and no joy. It’s like putting an electric plug in a dead socket. Touch, but no contact. All touch, but no contact and no light.’
I asked him: ‘Why?’
‘That you must ask yourself,’ he told me, ‘and perhaps one day this morning will not be ashes in your mouth.’
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (via thelifeguardlibrarian)