Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Perabo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perabo. Show all posts

01 July, 2013

Susan Perabo, "Indulgence"

"Indulgence" begins with a great sentence. There is no way a person could start to read this story and not be hooked immediately. Christine, about thirty-six, visits her mother, Margie, who is dying of brain cancer but the story is really about the love of smoking cigarettes and the relationship of a mother and
daughter that really developed its complexity when Christine was sixteen and recuperating from a serious injury. Now that the mother is dying, Christine feels the need to confess to a few teenage transgressions but her mother doesn't want to hear them. And, "I just wanted to thank you."

Christine works "for the state, making public buildings more accessible for the disabled." She's providing a sort of daughterly service for her ailing mother. With the wonderful ending that is expected but not expected at the same time, we see an example of how we are always rewriting events of our lives either hoping they'd played out in a different way or with what we wished we would've said or just the act of trying to interpret what did take place. Our lives are probably nothing but revisionist history so that we can bear the painful parts and "learn our lessons this way."

"Indulgence" is issue number 178 from One Story. It is about 17 pages long. Told in past tense in 1st person POV. The story moves back and forth from the present with the narrator standing at her kitchen window to the time when she was sixteen years old and recovering spending days with her mother playing gin rummy, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes while watching the O.J. Simpson trial. I'll have to think a bit more about why Perabo chose the O.J. trial as a motif and what it means. Well, it's kind of funny because O.J. kept saying he was innocent and Margie doesn't want any kind of judgements between her and her daughter. Margie says, "Some mistakes it's fine to keep to yourself."

link to bio at Dickinson Magazine