Yes, she is in love with him, and yes, in spite of his qualms and inner hesitations, he loves her back, however improbable that might seem to him. Note here for the record that he is not someone with a special fixation on young girls. Until now, all the women in his life have been more or less his own age. Pilar therefore does not represent an embodiment of some ideal female type for him--she is merely herself, a small piece of luck he stumbled across one afternoon in a public park, an exception to every rule.
I feel that the act of writing, in and of itself, is a tool towards probing that which you wouldn't without that pen in your hand. It's a strange, almost neurological phenomenon, and the words seem to generate more words - but only when you're writing. You can't do it in your head.
In a sense I am able to interrogate myself, address myself from that slight distance and enter a kind of dialogical relationship with myself. Because I'm saying, "Look, these are things that have happened to me, but how odd they are or how ordinary they are [is up to the reader to decide]."
Memoirs have dominated the literary scene now for ten or 20 or even 30 years: most of them seem to use the conventions of fiction and it's astonishing how in so many of these books people seem to be able to remember conversations that took place when they were five years old and give three pages of coherent dialogue, which is utterly impossible.
Reading, at the deepest level, is a physical experience. Most people are not attuned to this, most people don't learn how to read - poetry for example, or high-quality prose. They're used to reading magazines and newspapers, which are only of the mind, but not of the body.
No one was to blame for what happened, but that does not make it any less difficult to accept. It was all a matter of missed connections, bad timing, blundering in the dark. We were always in the right place at the wrong time, the wrong place at the right time, always just missing each other, always just a few inches from figuring the whole thing out. That's what the story boils down to, I think. A series of lost chances. All the pieces were there from the beginning, but no one knew how to put them together.
I met Peter Brook, the theater director, who's been based in Paris for many years at the Bouffes du Nord. I admire him tremendously. Some years ago, he was in New York, and he gave an interview with The Times, and what he said was this: "In my work, I try to capture the closeness of the everyday and the distance of myth. Because, without the closeness, you can't be moved, and without the distance, you can't be amazed." Isn't that extraordinary?