Monday, July 16, 2012

Day One Hundred Ninety-Eight: "Respect" by Mary Gaitskill


A woman has a one night stand with a man 13 years her younger. When the story opens she is almost bashful at the thought of their night together but upon checking her mail and discovering he had left her a handwritten note, she is almost giddy, an emotion for which she quickly hates herself. He's younger and she doesn't understand what he would see in her. She is heavier, older, uninteresting and yet, he has left his number--asked her to call. Then, before she has a chance to contact him, he calls and asks her to dinner. It's a date, something official. Once again, she is on guard but she accepts the invitation regardless.

As the reader watches this woman dress for her date, watch her squirm nervously through the dinner, and ultimately get disappointed by this young man in the way she feared but had managed to ignore for a brief period of time...the reader is struck by the irony that is inherent in the situation at hand. He "respects" this woman after a night of not respecting her. It can't be true. That is the impression the reader is left with.

Is it punishment? Is it prophetic? Perhaps both. As the woman retreats into her apartment alone at the story's conclusion, her parting comment to her pet is telling. "It's nothing."

WOW!!!!!!! What a story that was very well written. I won't be forgetting this one. It's a little close to the vest for that.

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