‘Love’ by Grace Paley

This story made me think it was possible to marry someone who would say, “What a good idea,” when I announced I had written a poem, and who would discuss whether government policy looks more like a floor or a ceiling. (Reader, it was possible.) I think maybe once a week, with great longing, about the scene where the narrator sees her former friend Margaret in the market and, taken off guard, they forget their enmity and smile at one another. The narrator takes Margaret’s hand as she passes, kisses it, and presses it to her cheek, a gesture of love that is not—as her husband suggests later—truly for Margaret, but for Louise, who Margaret took with her and who the narrator misses even more. How many different kinds of love can you get into one five page story? So many. 

Collected in Later the Same Day, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1985

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s