In “Snowdrops,” Marit Meredith captures a huge amount of emotion in a tiny piece of flash. The story’s emotional impact is what first impressed me; the ending took my breath away. Reading the story a second time, I noticed that the imagery is tight, each image fitting like a puzzle piece, from the repetition of “All will be well” to the predominant image of snowdrops. This neatness pleased me. Further, it reinforced the feeling of this story being a memory. The story reads like a memory because only the sharpest details remain — the snowdrops, the snow, the stillness, the calm, and the kicking — and through the years, those details have become even sharper, even more true and vivid, to the narrator. The emotion of the memory also remains and gives the story its power.
This charming story charts the journey of Tommy and Sue Ellen as they walk to the pond to catch frogs. We open to find Tommy persuading his mother that he should be allowed to go barefoot because Sue Ellen is – and she’s a girl. The two friends lead us along their country walk, until Sue Ellen takes all the familiarity from their path by telling Tommy that he loves her. What follows is a conversation that only happens between childhood friends. By the time Tommy returns to ask his mother about loving Sue Ellen, he has taken another step along the road to growing up – and we leave him at that transient stage when catching a frog is still as magical as love. The story closes on a poignant note with his mother realising that she can stop fearing for his feet, and start worrying about his heart. With voices so real they could be memories, and natural images so strong you can almost smell them, this short piece evokes the best of childhood before digital communication – and serves as a vital reminder that the friends and the frogs are still there for our children now. Mothers, grab the moments while you can. Writers, admire the craft. Readers, print it for your bedside table – because this is a timeless favourite that you will want to read over, and over, and over…
Melissa Ann Chadburn’s didactic short story, “Confession” blew me away the first time I read it. It is not just a story about a girl who shares her sins with a priest, but focuses more on what it really means to forgive.
What I liked most about the story is Melissa’s character development. At first the reader is persuaded to think that the priest will be the compassionate and understanding one. Sadly, he is not. He does not fulfill his role as a priest: he is not show the woman compassion.
At the end of the story, it is the woman who seems to take the true role of the priest: she has pity on the priest when his car won’t start. She shows him compassion and offers him help. After assisting the priest, she hugs him and says, “This is what Jesus must have felt like.”
If this story taught me anything, it was this: even though there are people in this world who might not be willing to forgive you, you should always have the courage to forgive them. Maybe if we did this, it would also be possible for us to erase the hate in this world.
Fictionaut Faves, a series in which Fictionaut members recommend stories on the site, is edited by Marcelle Heath, a fiction writer, freelance editor, and assistant editor for Luna Park. She lives in Portland, Oregon.