Kristin, you were my beloved and merry one. You played with me, Kristin, and I suffered. Remember, Kristin, that trip to Riondo? There on the windowsill, among the fat begonias, you saw three cats together, and you were happy at the sight. I told you, Kristin, that the wind was in love with your hair. It pulled it about and caressed it as I could not. Although it was pleasant to see, I was angry with the wind, for its free and easy possession of what was mine, only mine. In my jealous anger I reasoned, “What if another man does this?”

Now, too late, I understand that there was not and never could have been another man. Too late.

I remember how I bathed you, kissing the pearly drops of water from your body and legs. You laughed like a little girl, bending over in embarrassment.

My quiet butterfly, hiding behind a reed. My quick and daring little spider. . . .

What a wonder you were! — not in the indistinct fabrications of lovesick fools, but truly.

Remember, Kristin, how poor we were sometimes? I used to take the thin slice of meat that I had brought to work for lunch, and put it in a plastic bag in cold water so it wouldn’t spoil. Then I brought it to you. You were so happy, and though you were terribly hungry, you ate it without hurry, in small bites, and smiled gratefully when I lied, saying that a friend had given it to me and I had pretended to eat it but had really deftly hidden it.

Kristin, a little bee became enmeshed in your hair — it smelled so like honey. The September sun warmed it, and it shone. Your checked skirt blew up, and a boy who had dropped his ice-cream cone looked up at your legs.

That damned wind! It did whatever it liked. It caressed your hair, your legs, your shoulders, your breasts. I hated it, Kristin! I wanted to kill it. But how could I kill the wind? I ran after it and beat it with a stick. I poured gasoline over it and set fire to it. I took whole sacks of it and buried them in the ground. Once, I got a few hand grenades and threw them at it. But it was no use.

Kristin, I loved you so much that I found another solution. Let the wind caress a tart, but not my Kristin, I thought. Once, when we were walking through the park near the river, it suddenly swooped down on you and lifted your skirt high. And my tie was not even stirred. Then I picked up a big gray rock and hit you with it, and kissed your bruised head, and threw you into the river so that the wind could not reach you.

I am standing at the barred window of my room in the mental hospital. The wind outside is going wild. I love and pity you, Kristin, as probably no one has ever loved or pitied. But I am happy and composed, knowing that the wind can never touch you again.