The eighteen years he has lived seem but a moment, a breathing space in the long march of humanity. Already he hears death calling. With all his heart he wants to come close to some other human, touch someone with his hands, be touched by the hand of another. If he prefers that other to be a woman, that is because he believes that a woman will be gentle, that she will understand. He wants, most of all, understanding.
From Sophistication, the penultimate story in Anderson's masterpiece (p. 131 in the 1996 Norton Critical Edition).