for (who else?) Marissa

They weren’t so much decadent as inescapably lonely. They got together on the weekends — there were four of them, at first, but Forster kept bringing new people, some boring, some worthwhile — and wrote together, went for picnics where Elliot threw stems at Woolf and dragged her off into the woods, slept together. The sex was passionate and clinical, exhausting and boring, all at once, but they kept at it anyway. They took the names of famous writers and pretended at sophistication, a world-weary European malaise they didn’t really understand.

Strachey broke it up, in the end, not intentionally, but he was bored, and casually cruel, and set out to break poor Forster’s heart. Forster made no secret of his love for the high-boned Strachey, and Strachey didn’t bother to conceal his idle amusement at the infatuation. They circled around each other, Strachey deigning now and then to seduce Forster, now and then coldly shutting him out, capriciously. Forster wrote agonizingly during those times, filled thick notebooks that he wouldn’t show to anyone. Elliot and Woolf watched it all a little sadly. They weren’t talking to each other at that point, though they’d sometimes curl into each other resentfully.