(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

In this first-person narrative, an anonymous woman in mid-life reflects on her life and loves and recounts an experience that she has recently had, the experience of losing her heart. She loses her heart neither in the romantic metaphorical sense of being powerless before desire for another nor in the literal sense of cutting her heart out of her body and throwing it away, not that she has not wished to do both in her life. She loses her heart in a transfiguring, dreamlike encounter with her own inner being.

In the narrator’s ruminations on her past loves, she distinguishes between the affairs and entanglements and even marriages, however numerous, that “don’t really count” and “serious loves.” She points out that not only she, but also most people today, fly from lover to lover, ever seeking “serious” love. Acerbically, she observes, “We are all entirely in agreement that we are in the right to taste, test, sip and sample a thousand people on our way to the ’real’ one.” Although she carries the scars of many loves, she has never lost her heart.

The occasion that precipitates her finally losing her heart takes place on a day on which she lunches with her first “real” love, a man she terms “serious love A.” By chance that same afternoon she has tea with another past love, serious love B. Meeting these two loves “that count” and anticipating a meeting with a new man that evening engender in her a startling insight into the nature of her affairs of heart. Standing at a...

(The entire section is 624 words.)