“Cold Pastoral,” [a short story] in which a college student is forced to reassess her relationship and herself when she reads her boyfriend’s diary after his death, has a skillfully controlled comedy to it: “A lot of time was spent being consciously romantic,” the narrator says. “Making sushi, walking places, waiting too long before responding to texts. I fluctuated between adding songs to his playlist and wondering if I should stop hooking up with people I was eighty per cent into and finally spend some time alone.” At the same time, it shows an acute, almost clinical understanding of the mixture of arrogance and vulnerability, of pretense and emotion, with which its twenty-something characters pursue and evade real attachment.
An incredible short story from a twenty-two year old who passed away in May— beautifully written, tragic, and all-too-real. Here’s to Marina.