The girls are asleep on Friday night when Maxwell injures himself, a deep accidental cut to the base of his left thumb with an Exacto knife. He grabs the skin together with a washcloth, feeling himself go white. He walks into the living room where Paula reads on the couch. "I'll be back in a few minutes," he says, holding his injury behind his back, and steps outside. He almost falls, bites his teeth against nausea. Unsafe to drive. He waits only a few minutes at the bus stop three doors down. The TRAN bus descends the canyon road. Maxwell presses his wound against his chest to hold the washcloth on as he digs for his wallet, leaving a bloody stain on his t-shirt the shape and size of his heart.
I've posted my short story, "Deer Story," winner of the 2006 Boston Fiction Festival, right here.
A few years ago, a young deer ran across the Golden Gate Bridge and lost himself in the Presidio. And at the same time, I was thinking about synesthesia, the blurring of senses, and about my own upbringing in San Francisco, and the way my father would walk for hours through the night streets, and the overwhelming silence of our household.
It's not my own family's story, though I borrowed wildly. It's also my only short story with four points of view (five, if you include the deer's). I was going to do this as a podcast, but I have a hard time reading it out loud without crying. Not that it's tragic -- it's not, not at all. Maybe the hope in it makes me cry.
Thank you for reading -- I'd love to know what you think.