Saturday, August 28, 2010

On "Aftercare" by Steven Gillis (4870 words) ***

Paumonok Review doesn't publish anymore, at least online, which is a shame, because the review has a nice archive of good material.

By way of introduction to Steven Gillis's story, I am going to recount an anecdote that seems pertinent. A few years ago, a man at church was talking about a woman that he met while traveling. They hung out together on his journey and afterword exchanged, I guess, a few messages. But then she stopped writing back. He was due to take another trip, but the circumstances of that trip he was leaving somewhat open in order to give leeway for his girlfriend--this woman he'd met and corresponded with. It had been several months since he'd heard from her, but still he held off making plans, often noting how he was doing X, unless his gal wanted to come, then he'd do Y. "Honey," a woman at church finally told him, "that woman isn't interested." To outsiders, it seemed plain to all, but to him the circumstances didn't seem that plain at all. I too wrestle with those sort of things. Talk to a woman on the phone once a week for fifteen minutes who's very nice to you, but does that mean anything? Probably not--or maybe it does. Take of it the meaning you want and spin it accordingly.

Gillis's story trods this same ground--a woman in love with a married man. We know the circumstance, and we know the woman has no hope. But the ability of people to deceive themselves holds forth as supreme, and watching this woman continue to believe despite all is quite sad indeed. Watching her get her revenge is a bit mystifying--perhaps stretching credulity--but somehow appropriate. Read it here at Paumanok.

No comments: