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NIN, Anaïs

Delta of Venus

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For the first time, a real woman," he said. "So many have come here, but for the first time here is a real woman, someone I can worship.”

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Pierre was sitting at the edge of the bed and had slipped his pants on and was fastening the buckle of his belt. Elena had slipped on her dress but was still coiled around him as he sat. Then he showed her his belt. She sat up to look at it. It had been a heavy, strong leather belt with a silver buckle but was now so completely worn that i t looked about to tear. The tip of it was frayed. The places where the buckle fastened were almost as thin as a piece of cloth.

"My belt is wearing out," Pierre said, "and it makes me sad because I have had it ten years." He studied it contemplatively.

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Then suddenly the realization that the belt was so old, that Pierre had always worn it, struck her with a strange, sharp pain. She saw him unfastening it in other places, other rooms, at other hours, for other women.

She was jealous, acutely jealous, with this image repeating itself. She wanted to say, "Throw the belt away. At least do not carry the same one that you wore for them. I will give you another." It was as if his feeling of affection for the belt were a feeling of affection for the past that he could not rid himself of entirely. For her, the belt represented the gestures made in the past. She asked herself if all the caresses had been the same.

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