The Farewell Party
New Ed. Penguin Books Ltd, 1984. Print.
This beautiful lady was afraid of women, and saw them everywhere. She never missed a single one. She knew how to detect them from the tone of Klima’s voice when he greeted her at the door and even from the smell of his clothes. Recently she had found on his desk a scrap of torn newspaper on which a date had been jotted down in his handwriting. Naturally, this could refer to any number of possible appointments, such as a concert rehearsal or a meeting with an agent, but for an entire month she thought of nothing but the identity of the woman Klima was about to meet on that date, and for an entire month she did not get a good night sleep.
If she was so terrified by the treacherous world of women, could she not find solace in the world of men?
Hardly. Jealousy throws a remarkably narrow spotlight on one single man, while all other males merge into a dark mass in the background. Mrs. Klima, hypnotized by this tormenting spotlight, was blind to all men in the world but one: her husband.
Her outstretched antennae, eternally watchful, eternally jealous, were capable of detecting her husband’s secret plans far in advance. Whenever Klima became aware of these terrible antennae focused on him, spying on him, stripping him bare, he was seized by an overwhelming sense of fatigue. He hated those antennae, and he was convinced that if his marriage was threatened by anything, it was those damned quivering feelers. He was always certain (with a belligerently clear conscience) that any deception he may have practiced on his wife had been motivated solely by his desire to shelter her and to keep her from needless worry, and he was convinced that his wife’s suffering was of her own doing.