Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day Forty: "By Love Betrayed" by Judith Ortiz Cofer


A young girl wonders about the lives of her parents. What does her father really do when he's working? Why does he have a second job that her mother won't talk about? Why is her mother so religious? Why does her mother scratch and slap her father?

These are all questions the young narrator has and yet when the story concludes, despite the complete lack of answers, the reader is left with a sense that the absence of finality, the remoteness of truth, are better examples of what life is about than the truth revealed to the little girl when she witnesses her father in the throws of an affair with a neigbor in their apartment complex.

What she sees cannot be changed. What she tells her mother she has seen...well, there's some wiggle room in that. The father makes sure of that. Such a simple and short story to set up a fundamental fact of life: there is, at the core of everything, something real and of itself. When we talk about it...that is the only time it changes. Sometimes, as this story shows, it's for the best.

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