Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day Twenty-Six: "The Ballroom of Romance" by William Trevor


Irish writer William Trevor tells a story about Bridie, a young but approaching middle age woman, who spends her weekends at a dance hall called "The Ballroom of Romance" which we come to find out is a place where not much romance occurs, at least not for Bridie. Mostly, she sits back and watches men enter and exit her life while she struggles to keep it together.

One scene in the story where she's in her bed on her back, weeping and the tears sliding down her cheeks and onto her pillow around her ears, is so vivid and feels so real that it's a testament to the author's writing. It's that good and he got it right, the woman's emotions over this sort of loss, this sense of profound loneliness in a world where, every weekend, there are opportunities, opportunities for everyone but Bridie. Instead, by story's end, she resigns herself to staying on the farm, with her disabled father, to spend her days at least having someone to take care of. It's not what she wants but, she decides, she chooses, that it's good enough. At least he needs her. What a statement!

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