Review: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Love in the Time of CholeraLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m talking about Cholera with a capital C, see. This is my heart. Yes, heart & I’m it writing at you, as directly as almonds are bitter,  because the ending trumped the beginning before we even sat down and ordered a cup of coffee. I finished this book believing that love is whatever happened to us; whatever still happens when I write it out like this.

Our problem was always beauty: wanting to spread it across the bed, throwing ourselves inside it, talking ourselves out of it. Beauty. We smashed right through it. We slung it across the walls. Painted our names in it.  Trashed it and took it out of the trash and threw it away again. We cared so much that we didn’t. That’s beauty. That’s how long our bodies became. How badly we acted and what it felt like to laugh at our own cruelty. Because beauty, then, was just like cruelty. It was the dark circles around our eyes, the begging, the sound of no.

I remember the way I hated you across the table. Hated you without any excuses, any reason. I’m not going to explain it. It was a collapse of irretrievable events. I hated that stone fence. The intimations of sex. The drinking and not-drinking. I loved too. Loved the way we copied everything. How much we wrote the books we couldn’t write. But even that diner doesn’t matter much now. What happened was just a beginning, like any other, and it wasn’t ever ours. There were singularities that sparked desire, but desire is not my concern. I’m talking about love. There’s years between that and this. I accept it. I can even accept the way I feel when I think about it.

And now I can’t think of a day when you, or an idea of you, isn’t speaking to me. But I’ve come to love your voice because it’s not entirely yours. Because I understand what your voice is and what it attempts. I also understand that the way you try to say something is more important than what you say. There was never a story. There will never be any stories.

I love the way we still search for love. After failing so many times, we still pick a person out and attempt it. We think and think, stare at whoever sleeps in our bed. We wish it into existence and roll it over in our fingers until it’s perfect or gone. I admire that in both of us, but something about this book made me ask: what if you are that love? The question is not meant as a question. But it’s not an answer, either. It’s hard to imagine what happened. And even harder to believe that no one will close the gap that we closed when we talked ourselves into ruining everything. I only know that the question is honest. That it doesn’t need anything to exist.

When I finished this book I thought about how lucky we were to be writers. I know you don’t believe me. I won’t try to convince you. It’s enough to say that writing is my way of living with you. It is the life we can’t share. It’s the listening and being listened to. Even if this love is not love, it will continue to not be for as long as I can still see us. It is enormous. Bigger than the things we gave up and the things we won’t find, even bigger than despair.
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