I experience alternately two nights; one bad and one good. Most often I am in the very darkness of my desire; I know not what it wants, good itself is an evil to me, everything resounds, I live between blows, my head ringing; I am blinded by attachment to things and emotions. But sometimes too, it is another night; I think quite calmly about the other, as the other is; I suspend any interpretation; I enter into the night of non meaning; desire continues to vibrate (the darkness is transluminous), but there is nothing I want to grasp; this is the Night of non-profit, of subtle, invisible expenditure: I am here, sitting simply and calmly in the dark interior of love.
Am I in love? –yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits
Is the scene always visual? It can be aural, the frame can be linguistic: I can fall in love with a sentence spoken to me: and not only because it says something which manages to touch my desire, but because of its syntactical turn (framing), which will inhabit me like a memory.
Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself); on the other hand, I enwrap the other in my words, I caress, brush against, talk up this contact, I extend myself to make the commentary to which I submit the relation endure.
There is not only need for tenderness, there is also need to be tender for the other: we shut ourselves up in a mutual kindness, we mother each other reciprocally; we return to the root of all relations, where need and desire join. The tender gesture says: ask me anything that can put your body to sleep, but also do not forget that I desire you - a little, lightly, without trying to seize anything right away.
Roland Barthes, Tenderness. In: A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments