I hurried to serve him in a thousand details

Isabel Allende‘s Portraits in Sepia, although slightly longer than I would wish for, is a filled with amazingly rich characters and lives, with observations of relationships moving from San Francisco and various parts of Chile in the end of the 19th century. Its a read which is both funny, brutal and uncompromising when dealing with expectations and characters. Like in this part; a devastating description of unequal love.

Diego and I continued to make love – to put some kind of name to it – now and then, always like that first time. Living together did not bring us closer, but that was only painful for me; he felt comfortable with things as they were. We didn’t argue. We treated each other with strained courtesy, although I would a thousand times over have preferred open warfare to our stubborn silences. My husband fled occasions to be alone with me; at night he stayed up playing cards until I, overcome with exhaustion, went off to bed. In the morning he leapt form bed with the cock’s crow, and even on Sundays, when the rest of the family got up late, he found excuses to leave early. I, on the other hand, indulged his every mood; I hurried to serve him in a thousand details, and did everything I could to attract him and to make his life pleasant. My heart raced in my breast when I heard his steps or his voice.  I never tired of gazing at him – he seemed as handsome as the heroes in storybooks. 


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