On Joy by Zadie Smith

"Real love came much later. It lay at the end of a long and arduous road, and up to the
very last moment I had been convinced it wouldn’t happen. I was so surprised by its
arrival, so unprepared, that on the day it arrived I had already arranged for us to visit
the Holocaust museum at Auschwitz. You were holding my feet on the train to the
bus that would take us there. We were heading toward all that makes life intolerable,
feeling the only thing that makes it worthwhile. That was joy. But it’s no good
thinking about or discussing it. It has no place next to the furious argument about
who cleaned the house or picked up the child. It is irrelevant when sitting peacefully,
watching an old movie, or doing an impression of two old ladies in a shop, or as I eat
a popsicle while you scowl at me, or when working on different floors of the library.
It doesn’t fit with the everyday. The thing no one ever tells you about joy is that it
has very little real pleasure in it. And yet if it hadn’t happened at all, at least once,
how would we live?"