El Amor En Los Tiempos Del Colera (Love In Times of Cholera, or Love In The Time of Cholera)
Florentino Ariza met Fermina Daza one slow afternoon when she raised her head from a book and met his eyes, "and that look was the origin of a cataclysm of love that half a century later hadn’t yet finished." [My translation]
For fifty-one years, nine months and four days, Florentino and Fermina would not speak privately. Love arose through letters and chaperoned walks in a park, a love of expected vibrancy given their youth. But Fermina would soon realize that she’d fallen in love with Love itself, that Florentino was not anything she’d thought he was, and she’d dismiss him from her life to marry a man more in line with her station.
But Florentino did not give up. He waited patiently, with a debauchery that never threatened the purity of his love for Fermina, for half a century. The opportunity finally comes, but… They’re too old, Fermina says. Florentino’s patience isn’t exhausted and soon, in spite of her disparaging protests, she begins to admit there might still be time for love. Love, after all, is love regardless of the time or the age. But it becomes denser the closer one is to death.
Time is the antagonist. Time is what threatens: Florentino must outlive Fermina’s husband. Age—evidence of Time’s passage—threatens to make everything pointless. In the end Florentino thinks he wins: Time, so long against him, is now his ally--not just because proximity to death has intensified everything, but also because the half-century interlude flew them over the trials of love turned routine. And now… Now they need only each other. But Time won't stop, not even on that drifting riverboat with a cholera flag raised. We're left with the sensation that, however well-lived, their days together will not be many.