‘River’ by Elizabeth Strout

We all surely know and love Olive Kitteridge and I think about this story, or chapter if you prefer to see it that way, so much. Olive is living alone after the death of her husband, and falling in love again, when she least expects to. I guess in a way, the beauty of this story comes from knowing Olive in all the stories-in-chapters before; it is so unlikely for her to feel this way, and yet here she is; changed, finally softened somehow. I find some of the last few passages just beautiful:

His blue eyes were watching her now; she saw in them the vulnerability, the invitation, the fear, as she sat down quietly, placed her open hand on his chest, felt the thump thump of his heart, which would someday stop, as all hearts do. But there was no someday now, there was only the silence of this sunny room.

First published as part of Olive Kitteridge, Scribner, 2008