Wednesday 2 September 2020

The Remedy for Love

Finished August 27
The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach

This story starts off very low key and intensifies quickly. Eric is a lawyer in a small town in western Maine, with his own small practice. His interest is in environmental law, but there isn't a lot of work in that area available to him, so he does what work more common. As the book opens he is in a grocery store picking up some things for a dinner he has planned for his wife from whom he is separated. When they separated, they agreed to meet monthly to reexamine things and see if their situation changed. He wants to make it special and has bought things that he knows she likes. Ahead of him in line is a young woman who seems to be struggling. She doesn't have enough money to pay for what she has chosen, and she seems unkempt and needing a wash.
After some time, he pays for what she can't afford, and after purchasing his own items and returning to his car, sees her walking down the road with her heavy bags. A storm is predicted, and it is already starting to snow, so he slows beside her and offers her a lift. She accepts readily. He tries to start conversations with her, but she isn't very forthcoming, and wants to be dropped off along the highway in a remote area. She says she is living in a cabin by the river, but that is quite the walk. He drops her, but then finds himself coming back and following her, helping to carry her purchases to her destination, more than a mile through the woods. Once there, he sees that she isn't set up for the coming storm and insists on getting more wood for her small stove, the only source of heat she has. He gets a few things for her, and then leaves. Once back at his car, his concern and guilt, and other emotions return and he impulsively returns to the cabin with all of his purchases as well, offering them to her for no discernible reason, and surprising her in a vulnerable position.
He truly is a well meaning man with no ulterior motives, but he knows that she has legitimate concerns about his interest. So when he gets back to the road and his car is gone and he too is not dressed for the storm, he ends up back at her cabin.
As we watch the two people in the cabin grow more comfortable with each other and reveal more about themselves, we also see the loss that each has gone through and how it has affected them, making them put up false fronts for the sake of privacy and ego. The storm is a real force here, almost a character itself as it comes in and continues to affect them for more than a day. These two people are both vulnerable and sad, and they respond to each other in meaningful ways.
A very good read.

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