This first-person story approaches stages of grieving, the loss of his mother, anger, loneliness versus solitariness or vice versa, and low-paying jobs in a dispassionate way but not devoid of thoughtful reflection.
I read the interview with the author and Hannah Tinti after I read the story and was surprised that the author stated that the story "was born from work." For me, the story, I guess it can be "born from work" but still resonate as being about grieving and loss, the stages of grief, of anger and of acceptance. It's a fantastic story and I enjoyed every sentence and the voice of the narrator was particularly individualistic, yet universal, for hard-working young men, at a loss as to the best way to build a future, somewhat at the mercy of their bosses, yet not so much that he didn't up and leave them whenever he was ready. At the last scene, I came away thinking about what Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption, "get busy living or get busy dying." I think our narrator here is ready to "get busy living," in the way he decides, "I should get busy witnessing...and watched in quiet amazement."
Sumell's new collection, Making Nice, came out last month, Feb. 2015.
Matt Sumell's web page
One-Story page, interview with Hannah Tinti
check out Sumell's videos, Single Sentence Animations