When they began their courtship, they began reading together. They started with soft Protestant theology and soon progressed to the romantic surrealism of Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.
In less than a month, Jennifer Ditlevson had finished the book and would ask him about it; but somewhere in the midst of unnecessary details and wit, Timothy Haglund claimed to have fallen in love for a second time. He had grown to savor the ludicrous and brilliant descriptions of minute things in the text. Jennifer Ditlevson feared that he was displaying noncommittal tendencies. Yet what she did not know was that for as careless as he had been as a young man, Timothy Haglund had become increasingly aware of his mortality, and hence, the potential fatality of their love the closer they crouched toward marriage.
After three years, wedding bells, and three apartments, he had read less than half the novel.
“Finishing it,” he said, “would only bring us one step closer to death. We began this when we started dating, and if I finish it, it will be like committing hari-kari.”