Reviews for After Love
eeekabee chapter 3 . 7/29/2012
"The flight, full of the fitful sleep of a man facing a firing squad in the shape of his own heart."

Oh - good image!

And finally coming together:
"Sherlock's heart pumping out one steady message: I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

So lovely, so very much worth the wait! (though I know it can't just be all sunshine and kittens from here on out...)
eeekabee chapter 2 . 7/29/2012
So, so very beautiful! Thank you - it has been worth it, to get to this point (now how do they go from here? I can't wait to see!)

"...his soul singing two words, you're alive you're alive you're alive, rising to a crescendo until his body overloads with the sensation of life, the shockwave knocking him down as his limbs collapse and his eyes flutter shut, feeling the tightening grip of Sherlock's hand in his, the rush of air as Sherlock darts to his side, his strong, wiry arms cradling John's body as he falls into a bed of dark curls and dark wool and dark, sweet breath."
eeekabee chapter 1 . 7/29/2012
Beautiful images! Thank you for such a lovely start to this part of your story.
Mirith Griffin chapter 12 . 7/20/2012
Like sunlight on the Thames after a long, grey winter, this is beautiful, bright, and buoyant.

At this point in the story, John and Sherlock have been slogging through the valley for years, and it's an unmitigated joy to finally see them on the pinnacle.

"There are walks through the city, always on That Day, marking the path of their sorrow through the city, the path of their life, until nothing in London is free from their touch." I *thought* there was something special about that city. Is that it? It must be it.

"There are bees in Sussex, thatched roofs, nights of jasmine and honey and sweetgrass, with skies large enough to hold all of the stars in the universe, each one singing their names." Somewhere, somebody is reading this, and the idea of becoming a poet is unfolding in them for the first time.

"And in the center there is a table, where they sit side by side, the smooth, solid warmth of their clasped hands, their life spread out before them, their love scattered among the teacups and computers and beakers: heaping plates of yes and this and forever; pots of worry, steeped for ages; mugs of shared, salty sorrow a thousand days old; bright confections of there and God and now and come; dark blood dishes of anger; plates of bitterness, sliced thin as radishes; jars and jars of the sweet honey of joy, spiked through with the rare, red saffron threads of love; where they fill their mouths with each other, the sweet miracle of breath and flesh, feasting on their life until their souls are full."

Amen.

So many things to love in this series - the imagery, certainly, especially that of the red thread, which plays such an important role throughout and even shows up as saffron in the last paragraph. Also, the emotional wisdom. You've made me think hard about my methods for dealing with grief. But I think what resonates for me most is the way you meld the cosmic and the domestic. Because these things reside in the same space, don't they? We look over amongst the dirty dishes, and there's the love of our life, scrubbing out a pan.

You're so alive to the everyday miracle that is being with someone you love. What a gift it is to have that sense and to be able to clothe it in poetry, as you do here. Thanks for sharing this beautiful, lyrical, heartfelt series with the rest of us.
Puggle chapter 12 . 7/13/2012
THose 3 pieces were amazing. Beautifuuly done. Thank you so much for sharing.
Guest chapter 12 . 7/9/2012
wow that was beautiful and tear-jerking all in one. Amazingly deep effort I am in love with your writing style. Thank you so much for this!
Mirith Griffin chapter 11 . 7/11/2012
The desire to fangirl about thirty individual sentences for their imagery and lyricism and power is overwhelming, but let me pick out a few favorites:

"He holds the broken pieces to his chest, thinking of the man he could have been if Sherlock had not died, had not lied, the life they could have had, and he weeps. When he thinks about the man he would have been had he never met Sherlock at all, he cries harder." Yeah. It's a mixed bag, this life, and we're made of it. We don't get our beloved's strength without also shouldering his/her weakness. It's all or nothing.

"He pours himself into the violin, playing for hours, long, deep notes in the shape of his scars, in the shape of John's eyes, the songs entwined in his muscles and sinews. The hollow sound fills the flat, his sorrow scattered in the air like dry dirt and leaves." So beautiful, this synesthesia. You're very much alive to the role of different modalities in healing, aren't you? Here we have Sherlock playing their lives on the violin, trying to reintegrate the fragments after the chaos and loss of recent years.

And then there's the healing power of talking. I love the part where Sherlock wants to know whether John regrets him coming back, and John lays it out for him. There's regret there, but it's not what Sherlock's expecting. John's soliloquy on pain as a good thing, because it's proof of life, is amazing.

Finally, there's the healing power of walking. Sherlock almost literally walks a few miles in John's shoes. It's a path that John walked alone when Sherlock was gone, but it also covers the familiar places from the early days of their relationship. It's a way to recognize both the pain and the promise - the "miracle and [the] fucking disaster" - of who they are. Beautiful.

I love the wisdom here. John doesn't want Sherlock to die for him; he wants him to live for him, for the two of them. A year ago, that Bruno Mars song about the grenade was popular on radio, and every time I heard it, I'd think, "That is a *very* young person's take on love." Your story has nuances that are often missing from popular culture.

Thank you for reminding us that "something happening" is what we live for. Who wants the alternative? The polished black slab or the green-beige bedsit where "nothing ever happens to me"?

Hooray for their "sorrows falling from them like dying petals in spring." Are these cherry blossoms? It's a lovely image, because it presages the summer. May it be summer for both of them, always.
Mirith Griffin chapter 10 . 7/11/2012
LOOK how beautiful this is. Just look:

"For Sherlock, it is John's tawny hair, molten in sunlight; his eyes as blue as the open ocean; the rustle of newspaper and salmon fabric; a patch of leather on John's strong, solid shoulder. For John, it is Sherlock's baritone breath, filling the flat; his eyes, the color of nebulas, seeing straight to his heart; the swish of blue silk over grey cotton; the weight of a Browning in his hands."

So many gifts to your readers here. The grieving in reverse. Sherlock imprinted on John's memory "like light on a glass negative." The idea that the body can echo with the feel of a since-discarded weapon. Sherlock "filling his body with [the] complicated mysteries" of John, the violin, a case. The feel of a heart "walking outside [its] body." The way John and Sherlock learn to negotiate, communicate. The falling. The flying. The tethering and the taming, "the trust and the truth and the touch." The "miracle that keeps the stars apart and keeps the galaxies alive and keeps their love fresh in their mouths."

*Fresh in their mouths*, for God's sake. I want citizenship in the country that uses that phrase in its national anthem. The heart may be the locus of potential love, the love that is felt, but the mouth is the locus of kinetic love, the love that is expressed. By talking or kissing or, um, other methods.

Your work is beautiful on a sentence-by-sentence basis. The powerful litany of the last section makes my hair stand on end in a way that usually only happens when I hear music. Congratulations. This *is* music. Well done, my friend.
Skyfullofstars chapter 12 . 7/8/2012
You know the feeling. Christmas – or Hanukah – or your favorite midwinter Holiday or perhaps it’s your birthday – is just one month away. And you start to think about the coming day, how wonderfully fun it will be and how there will be people you love and good food and perhaps wine – or not – and maybe a surprising gift. Something wrapped in silver and gold with bows of red or perhaps it’s your birthday and you see that “something” is hidden away at the top of the closet.

And you swear not to peak…but you spend your time thinking, wondering, What can it possibly be?

And when the day finally comes and you welcome your family and friends and eat the food and unwrap the gifts and it’s marvelous, just as lovely as you thought it would be…and then later, perhaps that afternoon or that night or the next day, the tiny crash comes. Because the reality was utterly lovely and everything you hoped it would be.

But now it’s over.

The anticipation, the eager wondering, the rush to enjoy…in this case, the knowledge that something you’ve been reading, been savoring, in bits and pieces, for several months, something beautiful and terrible at the same time, something with gorgeous words and impossible phrasing and bits of shining gold leaf here and there and bright brilliant silver over here…and perhaps even the flash of jewels..rare ones, of course…and it’s gorgeous and every bit as marvelous as you knew it would be - And then the knowledge comes that it’s over.

And I’ve delayed leaving this Review because I was in denial for an entire week. And of course, this is how it had to end – with John’s forgiveness of Sherlock.

And I won't insult you or your readers by quoting any of this wonderful chapter...let everyone open the gift on their own.

It's here at last. The last chapter. The final bit. And no more to come.

No matter.

We can always go back to the beginning, go back to AFTER LIFE and AFTER DEATH and AFTER LOVE and reread the careful phrasing and selected words, culled from the classics (both ancient and new; modern and old; newly discovered and long forgotten) of mythology and music and art and works of love and romance and strange imagery, placed together just so…and interwoven with their glimpse into an author’s soul … and experience the heartbreak and the attempt at healing and the aftermath of Love all over again.

It will always be there, waiting for us.

Thank you, AFROGEEKGODDESS.

‘sky’
Ju Lara chapter 12 . 7/1/2012
Just found this story, just read it all. It is beautiful with poetry in every chapter, songs in the story and love and loss and finding spread throughout. Thankyou to everyone who helped, but mostly thankyou to you for sharing and working until it came out like this. I especially loved that they spent so much time physically together, people don't hug enough, so many spend their time alone. Anyway, thanks again for this emotional rollercoaster ride. you are a lovely writer.
Heidinanookie chapter 12 . 7/1/2012
Oh, beautiful! It reminds me of how I learned to live without my dog... There really is that one day when you realize you haven't thought of your loved one at all in hours, maybe even days. At first it scared me. I was afraid I'd be forgetting him, not honouring his memory enough. But it's really just a new way of fitting them into your life again. John has the extraordinary luck of having his loved one actually back.
heidi
booda77 chapter 12 . 6/30/2012
You always write the most wonderfully poetic words around these two...thank you...still play my Tibetan bowl app when I read your stories...:)
Jodi2011 chapter 12 . 6/30/2012
Sherlock's silky, wiry arms wrap around John, protecting all the fragile places in John's soul, and Sherlock's dark whisper caresses John's skin: I will catch you.

My God, what a journey. When I first started reading your lovely writing I had recently lost the love of my life and each chapter of John's loss was so raw and real, it echoed my own pain - albeit far more eloquently. I am sure I must have cried more from your writing than from any other one person. And now I'm in tears again from the beauty of John's and Sherlock's love and the end of this great read.

It has been a transforming experience, thank you :)
Heidinanookie chapter 11 . 6/28/2012
This was so very painful, as always. I would have liked them to share a tender kiss on this special day but it seems I will have to wait a little longer...
heidi
Skyfullofstars chapter 11 . 6/28/2012
An update from AfroGeekGoddess is an opportunity to put it all aside, get that fresh cup of coffee, settle down and read...and the world can just go hang in the meantime...

I thought I'd used up all words of praise at your sheer brilliance. But you just keep going on so I suppose I must and by God I intend to...

"...The familiar, thin desperation circles in his gut, slithering and silent..."

This is the image brought to perfect fruition...circles in his gut...slithering and silent..." Terrifying in its reference to a snake of agony and so very very apt for John's grief.

"...to not stand still before the firing squad of his agony..."

Seriously, AfroGeekGoddess?

"... The hollow sound fills the flat, his sorrow scattered in the air like dry dirt and leaves..."

And this image..the idea that Sherlock cannot, CANNOT verbalise his pain at what he did...most specifically the effect his actions had on John, the single most important person in his life...so he resorts to what he can do...he plays his sorrow out in violin music...hours and hours of it, slipping from one remembered pain to the other...as if by playing in a certain way, getting the chords and melodies right, he can somehow assuage John's grief. It isn't Sherlock's grief that the detective is trying to heal...he needs his grief...he holds it to himself like an anchor that might, one day, sink him. But he needs to assuage, to heal John. And this is how he chooses to do it.

And this, below, may be one of your most poignant lines...casually tossed to us...perhaps to see if we are paying attention?

"...It was either carry the violin or carry the gun. I didn't have room to carry both..."

"...They walk slowly, breath tight in their throats, until they reach the spot where they both fell.."

UTTERLY LOVELY AND UTTERLY DEVASTATING...Your writing alternates between great beauty and tragedy, joy and pain, grief and the overwhelming knowledge that they have another chance...

Next to last Chapter? My heart is already breaking...
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