28. One Last Thing to Break

Soundtrack and Video: Frank Turner, “Recovery (Live)” Six weeks later, Tereus presses a note into Valeria’s palm. It says, “Meet me in the hayloft tonight, if you can.” Of course she makes her way to the barn, climbs the ladder into the hayloft. It doesn’t much matter what she does. It feels like her conduct […]

26. Sympathy and Longing

Fall sets in. Winter is coming. There’s little work on the farm. Tereus and Valeria divide it between themselves silently and efficiently. Lavinia cooks on occasion and watches the children. Camilla continues to help her mother. Valeria tries to teach Claudius his letters, but he’s restless and can’t be made to practice with his chalk […]

22. Forgive Me, Love Me, Let Me Love You

9/1/17— His beauty has gradually impressed itself upon me. I feel his intellect, the force of his will, but more than anything, I feel his masculine vigor. We lay there talking. Because he asked, I told him what I thought of him back then. He listened thoughtfully and said, “I always found you witty, intriguing. […]

19. The Golden Evening Rushed In

8/25/17— I should admit — at least in these pages — that I have come to care for Tereus: A man who revolted, angered and disgusted me — someone whom I hated. There are times when I still hate him, when his coldness and lack of empathy surprise and anger me. I’ve always respected his […]

18. The Carnal Pleasure of Work

7/15/17— Did I say the labor was unremitting? I had no idea. Now, in midsummer, all intellectual labor has ended, and leisure is a fond memory. We’re in the thick of manual labor, back-breaking at times. I have been canning for days on end, drawing water and chopping wood, standing for hours on end over […]

16. I Wish You Could Forgive Me

Tereus wakes well before dawn, like he used to long ago in billets and bivouacs. The farmhouse is still, though the others will wake up soon. He urinates and masturbates, spending just a bit longer on the latter activity. He slips down the stairs and out the door in his stockinged feet, boots in hand. […]