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Rushing Water

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As rational and logical as the classic philosophers were, Chidi thought, they did not account for human error. Kant never considered a murderer knocking on the door and asking “Hi, is Andrew in? I’d like to stab him.” And Chidi, as rational as he was in stating that he wasn’t prepared for love, had not accounted for the very human error of falling for Eleanor Shellstrop. Somehow the hypothetical murderer and Chidi’s feelings for Eleanor cast doubt on the whole principle, as though they’d forced their fingers into a crack in a dam and pulled until the whole river burst through.


After their talk, Chidi had had one nice thought about Eleanor—she looks so beautiful tonight—and then the dam burst, and his thoughts come flooding out—I love the way she’s determined to become better, the way she won’t leave the others behind, the way she lights up a room, the way she talks and moves and thinks—and that’s when he strode across the space between them to kiss her, without thinking at all, exactly as though the water flowing out from the break in the dam flooded the entire valley. And when his lips landed on hers, the roiling waves of his thoughts quieted down to a rolling stream, whispering Eleanor, Eleanor, Eleanor, until finally he wasn’t in his head at all.