‘She Doesn’t Ask Where He Goes’, by Stefanie Freele

This flash story has a hint of magic about it, something the very short story can pull off beautifully, conjuring a world just slightly out of step with ours from the very first line: “Years ago, before their son was born, she stopped asking his name.” For me, this story is about the unknowability of the other person, even the person you are “supposed” to be the most intimate with, the one with whom you have created another life. I see it as also being about women, our fears of putting our needs front and centre, taken to the extreme of her not even being able to ask her husband his name or where he goes every day. Again, as in the best fictions, a tiny story set in a tiny space, which illuminates the biggest questions: our human ridiculousness, our desire for connection.

First published in Smokelong Quarterly (2008), included in Feeding Strays (Lost Horse Press, 2011), and available to read online here