At the height of pleasure he had experienced a revelation that he could not believe, that he even refused to admit, which was that his illusory love for Fermina Daza could be replaced by an earthly passion.
This quote is excerpted from the narration in Chapter 3 in reference to Florentino Ariza's unexpected loss of Virginity to Rosalba. Florentino's one, isolated encounter with Rosalba aboard the ship to Villa de Leyva forever changes his thoughts on love and sex. Before the encounter, Florentino insists that he will lose his virginity for love, only to Fermina. However, when he is suddenly seized by Rosalba, in the heat of passion, he is overwhelmed by a sudden and intense physical pleasure, a pleasure so fulfilling that it is enough to abet, or at least temporarily alleviate, the emotional pain he suffers from his tormented love of Fermina. Following his momentary revelation, sex serves as an antidote to his pain, a transitory, however effective drug with which to salve his agonizing, incurable ache for Fermina. After he loses his virginity to Rosalba, Florentino continually uses sex as an addict would a narcotic, for it is the one means by which he is able to forget his heartache and his desire for the woman who is the source of his anguish.