The Half-Life of Love

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January 30, 2013 (c) SMG

Like a photograph, every book I’ve read has a context and a bit of a back story that no one but yours truly is likely to know.

A few years ago I read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao while we stayed at a wonderful little inn in western Massachusetts.   I always read with a pencil, and make little lines and squiggles when I see a delightful turn of phrase.  My husband Jim was at my side and our  children all were together for one son’s and one daughter’s appraisal of colleges in the area.  I remember our children laughing at a word game as Jim and I rested and read on top of a snow-white quilt on a hot August day.  Our family of six had clambered into the mom van for the trip, and I had swayed in the back as I clenched and gritted my way through a daughter’s first sustained highway driving.

The eponymous lead character was bedeviled by a particularly virulent family curse, the fukú.  One of many passages that rated a pencil scribble was his sister’s reflection, at an all-too-tender age: “you can never run away.  Not ever.  The only way out is in.”

Of course I didn’t see the words the same way then as I do now.  Now the same passage speaks to me of grieving: there’s no way out, nowhere one can flee to escape it.  “The only way out is in.”

All in. Continue reading “The Half-Life of Love”

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