Now Wait for This Week
September 5, 2020 4:15 AM   Subscribe

Wait, it was because of the time I went to Devon's birthday party and saw Phyllida talking and laughing gaily with the man, even though I knew she knew. Maybe they had only interacted for a few seconds, maybe Phyllida needed a professional favor. Maybe, caught off guard, she'd been accidentally polite to him. It happened. But this incident sure did make me not want to tell anyone else about it, because if I saw them being friendly with him later, I would have to slink off like a dog giving birth under a house and tend my grievous wounds alone. I knew that now.

A short story by Alice Sola Kim.
posted by smcg (19 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
The sentence I read before the paywall popped up was, no snark intended, very promising!
posted by ominous_paws at 5:26 AM on September 5, 2020

That was very good.
posted by mhoye at 6:14 AM on September 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

“we would binge-eat; we would sex-marathon; we would try new hairstyles; we would get three dogs; we would get teardrops and ice cream cones tattooed on our faces; we would get five cats; we would do every drug; we would not garden.”

All things I’ve considered during the last many months of quarantine-ish time. This was a very dark Groundhog Day. I liked it a lot.
posted by 41swans at 7:04 AM on September 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting -- there are so many good sentences in this! It's strange to consider how the story relates quite specifically to the time it was written a couple years ago ....but then also seems perfect for now as well.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:47 AM on September 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Damn, that was good.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:08 AM on September 5, 2020

I really, really liked that right up to the end which I did not understand.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:11 AM on September 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

Yes, can someone explain the ending?
posted by Omnomnom at 8:31 AM on September 5, 2020

I've been thinking about it and re-reading the ending, and I have two understandings of it and I'm not sure which is correct or maybe neither is:

1) Bonnie has been building up black magic power which she somehow transfers to the narrator in this last iteration and the narrator uses it against The Man who raped her.
2) The narrator, in order to be telling this story and remembering all those iterations, must, like Bonnie have known they were happening. So she was being more low key about it and not making people think she was crazy but she was still reliving them and knew she was reliving them and using that time to generate her own power, which she is now using against The Man who raped her.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:40 AM on September 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

Wow. I have no words for how good and powerful and terrifying this was.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:14 AM on September 5, 2020

I think the story is about the never ending sameness of stories of men getting away with being shit. The cycle is broken when the narrator confronts her attacker. I feel like Bonnie has released herself somehow by arranging it.

In any case an amazing piece of writing.
posted by klanawa at 10:27 AM on September 5, 2020 [11 favorites]

I think Bonnie and the narrator are the same person. Bonnie is the aspect of her that doesn’t want to talk about it, wants to just have everything be surfacenice. Bonnie is living through the forever repeating week women have had since always, hearing or living the story of privileged men doing bad things.

The narrator is the one who knows that Bonnie’s silence is old fashioned and no longer acceptable. The one who knows that it’s time to speak up; she’s the only one who can live in the future, because the time for silence is over.
posted by nat at 10:55 AM on September 5, 2020 [17 favorites]

That was very good.
posted by biogeo at 10:56 AM on September 5, 2020

I think Bonnie and the narrator are the same person

That would absolutely explain the parents scene.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:26 AM on September 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

And the sleeping under the couch.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:48 AM on September 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, that definitely did interesting things with the groundhog day format as symbolism/theme that I haven't seen in a groundhog day story before.
posted by Cozybee at 12:01 PM on September 5, 2020

You ever think you have something figured out and then someone comes along and adds a critical detail that ties it all together and seems indispensable in retrospect?
posted by klanawa at 2:24 PM on September 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

smcg, thank you for posting this -- I read this story and found it very striking and memorable years ago, but right now, as LobsterMitten points out, it has this added resonance of feeling locked in, airless and stifled in repetition.

There's a particular kind of horror that Alice Sola Kim, Carmen Maria Machado, Alexandra Erin, Alexandra Petri, and some other authors are writing, horror that uses fantastical mechanisms to demonstrate the experience of gender oppression, horror that takes the ordinary dread and exhaustion and confusion and ever-closing-in walls of life and heightens it and makes it more visible. I appreciate this kind of horror story because it is that articulation and reassurance -- you are not alone, yes, it feels this way, yes.
posted by brainwane at 4:03 PM on September 5, 2020 [9 favorites]

Reminds me of how we freaked out our high school teachers by passing around Vitamin C pills.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:24 PM on September 5, 2020

Whooooooof that was great. Thank you.
posted by librarina at 9:18 PM on September 5, 2020

« Older A Brief History of Plural People, From 1811 to...   |   Roll roti roll Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments