I encountered Colette about ten years ago. When in 18 or 19 — a term of being neither adult nor child — I read Ripening Seed, very impressive novel. Through the intercourse, “almost adult but childish”, developed in the novel, I notice it is certain that a girl is more sensitive to that matter. Phil and his childhood friend Vinca begin to raise awareness of their sentiments.
While Vinca is gradually attracted by his charm, Phil has had a close relationship with a middle-aged lady (a habitual pattern of French novel). And she says, with noticing it.
‘Oh, Phil, I love you all the time. Unfortunately, what you did makes no difference.’
‘You mean it? Then you can forgive me for being such a cry-baby, for making such a fool of myself?’
She hesitated for no more than a second.
‘Of course I can forgive you, Phil. But there again, it makes no difference.’
‘To us, Phil.’
It shows her puzzled thought that she’s not sure what to do in order to develop their stagnating relation. But she notices that Phil has been totally changed through a night, so it is clear to her that they need each body. Colette is artful enough to describe such a connotative dialogue.
Phil also begins to realise the change through his secret meeting. His monologue contains, as well as Vinca’s, his anxiety about their changeable daily life.
‘Vinca and I together are just sufficiently one person to be twice as happy as either of us singly, and this year the person who is Phil-and-Vinca is going to die here. What a frightening thought! Is there nothing I can do to prevent it? And here I am....’
The most difficult thing is to write on self-evidence. Colette naturally writes what we feel, what is obvious. Such book offers to us a opportunity to reconsider our own life which seems to be mundane.