Apathy Jack writes:
The Inn At The End Of The World, by Alice Thomas Ellis
Harry sat alone in his room long after midnight has passed, trying to make sense of his sorrow. He knew that if you lived long enough you would inevitably, to a greater or lesser extent, become disenchanted with everybody in your life, from your nearest and dearest right down to the amiable newsagent on the corner. All the people in the inn were in the throes of disappointment: that’s why they were here. How fortunate they were, thought Harry. How strangely blessed to have learned that love is an illusion, to have been given time to see its blossoms moulder and spot and not to have had it snatched away from them in perfection. He told himself that if his wife had lived she might now be a false-toothed harridan, sitting up in the bed behind him demanding to know what he thought he was doing staring out of the window like that. His son, if he had lived, might now be a pompous middle-aged man with a plump-wristed wife of his own and a tendency to gout. How peaceful it would be, thought Harry: how painless to have learned to the full that love withers and nothing matters. How pleasant to have realized completely the tedium of life and to have no fear of loss and no pangs of remembrance. That would be the consolation of age, and he had no such solace, for his wife and child had gone in beauty and youth, cheated him of disillusion and left him endlessly bereft.