Thoughts on Short Fiction: Short Stories about Love
All this Valentine’s shenanigans last Friday have made me sentimental and a bit melancholic on the subject of love and all its subtleties. So, with nothing better to do, I reminisced on all the short stories I’ve read over the course of my life that tackled the complicated subject of love and I thought about what were some of my favorites. Thus, here we are with me rambling and you reading about the short love stories that made a mark. Here is a selection of them:
1. The Wedding Dance by Amador Daguio – This came as a surprise to me because I have never read anything from the author. The Wedding Dance is a story about a married couple from one of the traditional tribes of Northern Luzon who were forced to separate due to societal pressures. What was heart breaking about the story is the fact that the husband and the wife were really in love with each other but they were unable to produce a baby, a heir for the father, so they are forced to separate so that the husband can marry again in the hopes of having a son who will continue his legacy. The Wedding is a moving story about a love torn asunder because of society who demands validation from married couples.
2. Give by James Salter – This is a truly heartbreaking story but the heartbreak comes from places that you didn’t expect. At first, the reader is introduced to Jack and Anna, a happily married couple, and then to Des, Jack’s best friend, who is currently living with them. The story seemed harmonious at first but, little by little, Salter introduces cracks to the relationship of the trio, implying a ménage à trois that threatens the fabric of the family. In the end, the story ends quietly but the reader can still sense the turmoil that goes on inside the minds of the characters.
3. The Kite of Stars by Dean Francis Alfar – A love story with a twist of fantasy, Kite of Stars (or L’Aquilone du Estrellas) is about a young girl who has endeavored to become a star so that she can catch the attention of a young man from a family of stargazers. The girl then enlists a kite-maker to make her a kite that will enable her to go to the heavens and be a star. To do this, the girl must undergo a sixty-year journey to gather the materials for the kite and she enlists the aid of a young butcher’s boy to help her find the rare materials. Alfar weaves a lovely story about a young girl’s journey for love and how it was right under her nose all along.
4. Something That Needs Nothing by Miranda July – I have read several of Miranda July’s stories and I always found them to be a little extreme, not extreme in the sense that the story is over-the-top but extreme in the sense that she always takes her characters to the edge of human experience. Something That Needs Nothing is a tale about obsessive love and the lengths that a person must take in order to make herself into something desirable for the object of her affection and the consequences of such kind of love.
5. How To Be An Other Woman by Lorrie Moore – This is the kind of story that can cement a legacy, but that’s not really the ultimate purpose of this story. When I read this, it didn’t make me aware of Moore’s place in literary history (that realization came later). Instead, How To Be An Other Woman simply left me reeling and, same with all the other stories on this list, broke my heart. This is, after all, a story about a woman who has no place in a life of a certain man and the fight that she put up despite the foreknowledge of losing.
So, these are the five stories of love that I wanted to present to you, dear reader, for the latest installment of my short fiction feature. There are multitudes of love stories that I want to write about but let’s stick with this five for now. Until next time.