Sacrificing yourself to some sort of higher ideal is the idea behind Alissa’s treatment of Jerome but it appears to be so pointless. To be closer to God and ensure that their love is no sullied by the experience of the everyday she distances herself from him firstly physically then intellectually. She tones down her appearance to rid herself of any beauty and cleans out of her life anything other than a commitment to peasantry pursuits.
Finally her resistance to Jerome is so complete that they part and she disappears from his view deciding to travel the world to rid himself of his restlessness. Three years pass before they meet again and then in a chance encounter by her garden gate they talk for the last time and as he almost breaks down her barriers with a kiss she closes the gate on him and shuts the door on their love.
He writes appealing to Alissa’s sister expressing his concerns that she is very ill and not far from death. The return letter confirms his fears with the news that Alissa has died.
The sense of waste is palpable and the wonder at why someone would deny themselves love as if they deserved punishment? Real love is all about going through the ups and downs of life but it is importantly about doing them together.