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John Cheever

“But I awoke at three, feeling terribly sad, and feeling rebelliously that I didn't want to study sadness, madness, melancholy, and despair. I wanted to study triumphs, the rediscoveries of love, all that I know in the world to be decent, radiant, and clear. Then the word "love", the impulse to love, welled up in me somewhere above my middle. Love seemed to flow from me in all directions, abundant as water--love for Cora, love for Flora, love for all my friends and neighbors, love for Penumbra. This tremendous flow of vitality could not be contained within its spelling, and I seemed to seize a laundry marker and write "luve" on the wall. I wrote "luve" on the staircase, "luve" on the pantry, "luve" on the oven, the washing machine, and the coffeepot, and when Cora came down in the morning (I would be nowhere around) everywhere she looked she would read "luve", "luve", "luve." Then I saw a green meadow and a sparkling stream. On the ridge there were thatched-roof cottages and a square church tower, so I knew it must be England. I climbed up from the meadow to the streets of the village, looking for the cottage where Cora and Flora would be waiting for me. There seemed to have been some mistake. No one knew their names. I asked at the post office, but the answer here was the same. Then it occurred to me that they would be at the manor house. How stupid I had been! I left the village and walked up a sloping lawn to a Georgian house, where a butler let me in. The squire was entertaining. There were twenty-five or thirty people in the hall, drinking sherry. I took a glass from a tray and looked through the gathering for Flora and my wife, but they were not there. Then I thanked my host and walked down the broad lawn, back to the meadow and the sparkling brook, where I lay on the grass and fell into a sweet sleep.”


John Cheever
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