I lay on the bed and lost myself in the stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.
'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.’