Short Story Dec. 30: July

“The Man on the Stairs” by Miranda July

Quote of Note: “He was putting more care in to hunting me than I had ever put into anything in my life. And it was worth it, because he had earned my admiration. I don’t think anyone has ever admired me the way I admired him. What if I were to spend this much time listening to Marilyn, what would happen? Maybe she would adore me and then I would respect her and we would both become professional jazz singers or at least reckless but safe drivers. Maybe.”

This story is anxious overthinking at its best, or maybe its worst. What makes the story so unnerving, however, is the fact that the reader doesn’t really know: is it overthinking or is there a man climbing the stairs in this woman’s house. The narrator is convinced; she barely questions her assumption; she doesn’t think she is overthinking. Then there’s the added information about the narrator’s past and the slow downfall of her relationship, subtly implying that something else altogether is creeping inside their house. So, then, is this woman about to be hacked to death, is she suffering from a bout of anxiety and paranoia, or is it all a metaphor for impending end to their relationship? Probably, all three.

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