The Hypothetical Girl
“Love, Really” is from Elizabeth Cohen’s new collection, THE HYPOTHETICAL GIRL (Other Press). Cohen is the author of the memoir The Family On Beartown Road (Random House) and the poetry collection The Economist’s Daughter (Ecstatic Utterance). Her essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in People, the New York Times Magazine, Yale Review, Glamour, Rolling Stone and elsewhere.
Cohen said this about her story: Love, Really is one of the thirteen stories that all take place in the realm of online interaction, in particular the seeking of emotional connection and love. In it, a woman and man meet online and quickly transfer that connection to the real world. Some problems arise, which have to do with the tethers they still have to the electronic work in which they met. They need to shake off the technology and make their lives about the visceral world.
When I was writing it, I fully engaged with the poet side of my brain, so the story uses several repeated sentence clauses almost like a poem or a song with a refrain. What makes this short story different from the others in the collection is that it is engined by a belief that human connection actually can work. In this story, I describe the feelings an older woman in love might have of complete hopefulness, despite her inner cynic. I let her marry her deepest dreams and then, I did the unspeakable — I let them work it out in the end.