29. A Thoroughly Bad Man and a Reprobate

Tereus is lying in the hayloft smoking and drinking. It’s the end of a cold day in late October, a day or two after he and Valeria last exchanged private words. He’s not drunk — not by his standard. Several genteel phrases exist to describe his condition: Half-disguised, well to live, foxed. He’s not drunk, […]

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 […]

24. The Furies Settle in the Rafters

When she rises at dawn, Lucius is still not there. She bathes and dresses hastily, checks on Camilla and Claudius, who are in trance. She finds Lucius in the library, curled up on the couch like a kitten. She feels real affection for him, the way he’s hunched one shoulder, wrapped his arms arounds himself.  […]

21. Lost Children Returning Home

8/31/17— We retreated to the hayloft again. The days are so very long. We were tired, and I think we felt that we deserved a small reward for all our hard work and diligence. He made no attempt to persuade me. We lay in each other’s arms in a dream-like state, as if we were […]

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 […]