"Adieu,” he said. “This is goodbye. I’ll never forget you. Never.”
She stood silent. He looked at her and saw her eyes full of tears. He turned away.
At this moment she wasn’t ashamed of loving him, because her physical desire had gone and all she felt towards him now was pity and a profound, almost maternal tenderness. She forced herself to smile. “Like the Chinese mother who sent her son off to war telling him to be careful ‘because war has its dangers,’ I’m asking you, if you have any feelings for me, to be as careful as possible with your life.”
“Because it is precious to you?” he asked nervously.
“Yes,” she said. “Because it is precious to me.”
Irène Némirovsky, Suite Française