"I'll tell you a secret. There's a dark young man in your life, you're very much in love with him, but you're not happy with him because of a blonde girl. This is a charm. You must put it into a small handkerchief and keep if on you for three days and then you'll be happy with the young man. I wouldn't give it to everybody, for this is a very precious charm; but I'l give it to you for a hundred franks."
"No thank you," said Françoise. "I don't want the charm. Here's something for forture."
The woman seized the coin. "A hundred francs for happiness is nothing. How much do you want to pay for your happiness, twenty francs?"
"Nothing at all," Françoise said. She went back and sad down beside Gerbert.
"What did she tell you?"
"Just a lot of twaddle," Françoise smiled. "She offered me happiness for twenty francs, but I found that too dear, if as you say, it's nothing but a word."
"I didn't say that!" Gerbert said, startled to have involved himself to such an extent.
"Perhaps it's true," said Françoise. "With Pierre one uses so many words, but what exactly lies behind them?"
She was seized by a sudden anguish, so violent that she wanted to scream. It was as if the the world had suddenly become a void; there was nothing more to fear, but nothing to love either. There was absolutely nothing. She was going to meet Pierre, they would exchange meaningless phrases, and then they would part. If Pierre's and Xavière's friendship was not more than a mirage, then neither did her love for Pierre and Pierre's love for her exist. There was nothing but an infinite accumulation of meaningless moments, nothing but a chaotic seething of flesh and thoughts, with death looming at the end.
"Let's go," she said abruptly.
an episode from She Came to Stay by Simone de Beaovoir