‘Initials Etched on a Dining-Room Table, Lockeport, Nova Scotia’ by Peter Orner

“The girl was young when she did it, and she didn’t live there.” A hell of a first line to start this story which, in around 1500 words, tells of two families, the one that owned the table in which the initials were etched, and the one from which the girl who did the etching came. This story is told by an omniscient narrator and it slips around in time and space. It tells of history, of love, of what the idea of ‘family’ can mean, of unfulfilled dreams and mysteries, of how one small act has ripples that sing across decades.

First published in The Southern Review, 2001, included in Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), and available to read online here