A romance in the time of COVID
"in his moments of release he sees endless glades, nameless shades of green, rolling hills, infinity."
That was absolutely beautiful.
Looking at this again, I'm struck that you wrote it in the present tense. Normally, I'm rather hostile to the use of the present but I didn't notice on my first read-through! Everything has its place and here, in a prose trance, you made me feel like I was not immersed but submerged in the narrative.
Very well written. You paint a good picture. The pain of loss is felt permanently in the man whereas the woman recovers after brief mourning. Breakups damage men physiologically. And it’s never recovered… real scar tissue. What would your ‘Michael’ do? Without living within the thickness of the torrid affair ourselves we can’t hold Michael accountable for the decision he makes in the end. Most men will swear up and down that it’s an easy choice. That the woman should be punished for allowing herself to fall prey to the femin virus epidemic of current year. What are we (as self styled “men of the old ways”) to do when the object of our affection falls to the relentless and overwhelming attack of a mutated and dysgenic society? The suicidal urge to forgo lives of true beauty and succumb to the mutilated appropriation of the word. An impossible question. My initial urge would have been to light the letter on fire.
To the author: this story was beautifully told and well written.
I want to criticize the people involved, though. This woman is damaged goods and the relationship was based on use, not good sex.
Good sex with the presence of use is empty and cruel.
You freaks need to master your passions, break free from the chains of these dime a dozen succubi, find Jesus, find a woman who also knows Jesus, get married- THEN you will have good sex.
Or, just continue to be crushed by more of the same in your emptiness, and die broken.
As an individual navigating a "post togetherness" after a beautiful relationship myself, this hits home
Beautifully written story.
''What was really the fantasy: their relationship or the vision they both see?''
This post has inspired me to begin writing. Incredible, I've re-read it many times. Magnificent, makes popular literature look like garbage
was reminded of this by a tweet, read it when it came out and just happily re-read it. superb story, I show it to friends all the time
Please see a podcast where I discuss this story extensively, linked below:
Bravo, Paulos. I hope your friend Michael finds a good woman.
The last line(s) is/are missing.
“Then he shrugs, touches the corner of the letter with his cigarette, and sees it go up in flames. Her carousel doesn’t stop here.”