Besides, we feel that in these lies there is indeed a grain of truth, that, if life does not bring about any changes in our loves, it is we ourselves who will seek to bring about or to feign them, so strongly do we feel that all love, and everything else in life, evolves rapidly towards a farewell. We want to shred the tears that it will bring long before it comes. No doubt there was, on this occasion, a practical reason for the scene that I had enacted. I had suddenly wanted to keep Albertine because I felt that she was scattered about among other people with whom I could not prevent her from mixing. But even if she had renounced them all for ever for my sake, I might perhaps have been still more firmly resolved never to leave her, for separation is made painful by jealousy but impossible by gratitude. I felt that in any case I was fighting the decisive battle in which I must conquer or fall. I would have offered Albertine in an hour all that I possessed, because I said to myself: "Everything depends upon this battle." But such battles are less like those of old, which lasted for a few hours, than like those of today which do not end the next day, or the day after, or the following week. We give all our strength, because we steadfastly believe that we shall never need it again. And more than a year goes by without producing a "decision."
Marcel Proust, The Captive, p. 360
"We want to shred the tears that it will bring long before it comes." We've been talking about Marcel's battle with Albertine, which ranges - and rages - from bitter recrimination to jealous remonstration, but somehow, and sadly, without the sweaty interval of make up sex. Proust knows that they're fighting over nothing, but, as he tells us, "Everything depends upon this battle." The head of my doctoral committee at the University of Cincinnati told me once that the reason why university politics were so brutal and cutthroat was because there was absolutely nothing at stake. Maybe this is what happens with dead relationships: nothing is really at stake any more, so the battle must be fought to the death. As he notes: "But such battles are less like those of old, which lasted for a few hours, than like those of today which do not end the next day, or the day after, or the following week. We give all our strength, because we steadfastly believe that we shall never need it again. And more than a year goes by without producing a 'decision.'" Earlier in Remembrance of Things Past Proust spoke eloquently about the terrible nature of habit, and it seems that his battle with Albertine has fallen into that category.
Oh, and, stupid spellchecker, how do you not know how to spell remonstration (I knew how to spell it, but the spellchecker didn't recognize it)? Apparently I inadvertently set the spellchecker on second grade level by mistake.