Monday, November 28, 2011

Favor – Elizabeth Tallent

I was rather happy when this little story popped up in the collection. I really enjoyed Tallent’s previous story “Ice” which appeared in The Best American Short Stories 1981 and which I wrote about back in February 2010.

Tallent has a nice way of carrying the reader through a story. Rich descriptions, twists of words within the dialogue that I really enjoy.

So much has changed in my life since February of 2010. It was that month that M and I decided that we were ready to take on the challenge of becoming parents. Our challenge was met, we are fortunate enough now to be the parents of a little one that has made us the happiest of people.

When M and I first arrived in America, I was returning as a man who was newly married.

It was my duty, I felt, to provide.

I felt that I had certain responsibilities as a husband. It took a little time for me to settle into my new role, and I felt that I had that time, as I had no idea as to what I really needed to do.

We lived in a crummy one bedroom apartment in a sketchy section of town and we were very happy when we made the move to a more stable location and a larger apartment. We plodded on through our daily grinds – M and I both working...and then M taking on the challenge of earning a degree while working. We each had our own lives within the life we shared together. A large part of the personal life that I created was within the time I spent reading. I also spent plenty of time alone out on the roads during my runs. M enjoyed watching her favorite movies and the “free time” we had before the boy now seems enormous.

Looking back over the ten years that we were married before the boy came along, I can’t say that I was placed into any position similar to that of the husband character in this story. I’m good at compromise and weighing out the time devoted to my responsibilities both at work and at home. Sure, as one would expect, there are minor things that M has to get on me about to complete but nothing that really gets under her skin. If marriage and fatherhood has taught me anything, it is that you must put others before yourself. The well-being of those you love the most should be your primary concern. We should endeavor to make those around us as comfortable and pleasant in this world as possible because really, it’s rough out there.

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