Spring in Fialta
How we cite our quotes:
I call her Nina, but I could hardly have known her name yet, hardly could we have had time, she and I, for any preliminary. 'Who's that?' she asked with interest — and I was already kissing her neck, smooth and quite fiery hot from the long fox fur of her coat-collar, which kept getting into my way until she clasped my shoulder, and with the candour so peculiar to her gently fitted her generous, dutiful lips to mine. (11)
Throughout most of "Spring in Fialta," we have to ask what Victor can admittedly not answer himself: what are his feelings for Nina? Since he doesn’t know even know her name before he’s all over her, we might be tempted to label this simple physical infatuation. On the other hand, you could identify an element of fatalism here. Perhaps they were simply destined to be together.
…she removed her stalk-like cigarette holder from her lips and proceeded to utter slowly and joyfully, "Well, of all people —" and at once it became clear to everyone, beginning with her, that we had long been on intimate terms; unquestionably, she had forgotten all about the actual kiss, but somehow because of that trivial occurrence she found herself recollecting a vague stretch of warm, pleasant friendship, which in reality had never existed between us. Thus the whole cast of our relationship was fraudulently based upon an imaginary amity. (18)
Is Victor guilty of "fraudulently" basing his feelings for Nina on "imaginary" love that he feels only after her death? Remember, he’s telling us all of this after Nina is gone, so it’s possible he’s amplifying what were really very basic, trivial feelings at the time.
And regardless of what happened to me or to her, in between, we never discussed anything, as we never thought of each other during the intervals in our destiny, so that when we met the pace of life altered at once, all its atoms were re-combined, and we lived in another, lighter time-medium, which was measured not by the lengthy separations but by those few meetings of which a short, supposedly frivolous life was thus artificially formed. (31)
This is Victor’s strategy for dealing with his feelings for Nina: he separates out the moments he’s with her from the rest of his life. He almost creates another entire existence for himself. This goes a long way in understanding the mystical quality of both Victor’s memories and of "Spring in Fialta." In this story, all reality is subject to Victor’s manipulation, and Victor is subject to his hopeless feelings of desire.