Fiction Friday: “The Worst Thing That Happened” from Love is Power or Something Like That by A Igoni Barrett
Granta magazine has featured a short story by A Igoni Barrett from his new short story collection, Love is Power of Something Like That, which has been longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2013. In “The Worst Thing That Happened”, we are introduced to Ma Bille who wakes up with “the suspicion that she was all alone in a world that had seen the best years of her life”:
For the fourth time in almost as many years, Ma Bille had to go in for eye surgery, this time to have her cataracts removed. She was not afraid: at sixty-eight years of age she had been in and out of the operating room so many times that the antiseptic reek of hospital walls was as familiar to her as the smell of baby poop. The thing that worried her, that made her wake up this morning with her heart hammering in her ears, was the suspicion that she was all alone in a world that had seen the best years of her life.
While she waited for sensation to return to her legs, she ran her mind over the tasks for the day. Her domestic routine, established after her husband’s death and perfected in the years since the last of her five children had left the house, was the cogwheel of her existence, the real reason to live. After the last operation she had shuffled around the house for five days with a blindfold of surgical gauze over her eyes, condemned to do nothing but eat, bathe, sit on the toilet bowl, and listen to the sounds of the street outside her window. She had emerged from that invalid’s limbo with a renewed zest for workaday duties, but since she noticed the fog creeping in again from the edges of her vision, she had begun to wonder if she was fighting fate.
- Love Is Power, or Something Like That: Stories by A Igoni Barrett
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