Occasionally, I read a story that causes something within me to shift. The stories in Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, get me every time. The same with Jo Ann Beard’s “Cousins,” and Annie Proulx’s “Broke Back Mountain.” It doesn’t matter that I’ve read each of those stories a dozen times. By the time I finish the last paragraph I’m on the brink of tears if I haven’t stopped mid-sentence, somewhere along the way, to weep. It sounds melodramatic, I know, but I’m being honest. I can’t seem to read these stories without feeling a clench in my chest, a tightening in my gut, a twist in my heart. What do they all have in common? They’re all so true; at least to me. Each of them contains a moment or moments that I’ve lived, that I’ve endured, and the pain embodied in that recognition is both delicious and devastating. Connections made and lost. Wishing for what will never be. Accepting what is.
This morning I came across the story, “Italy” by Antonio Elefano, and I knew almost immediately, it was a story I had to add to the list. If I needed further convincing, the last line pushed me over the edge. It’s like Emerson said: “Fiction reveals the truth that reality obscures.” Click the link and see for yourself. Just remember, I warned you.