Monday, January 26, 2009

Short Story: Tunnels and Walls and Other Ways of Getting There by Sharon Sheehe Stark

"As it turned out, what I would remember most clearly about the year of my fall (or flight) from grace was Old Zach tunneling under Nichols Street to the Gunderpopp brewery."

I read Tunnels and Walls and Other Ways of Getting There online in Narrative Magazine. It is the story of the current week. The title attracted me as also the alliterated name of the author.

The narrator is a girl Hilda, studying in a catholic co-ed trying to fit in. Somehow or the other she is a misfit in there. The nuns, especially Old Zach are kind of weird. They try their best to make their pupils learn. Rewarding them in their own way.

"Sometimes, out of their proud and pellucid poverty, they gave you gifts. A Miraculous Medal, perhaps. Holy cards. Words of wisdom printed on deckle-edged onionskin. When the time was right, pamphlets listing the ten signs of a vocation. By stages they’d admit you to an inner circle of shared confidences. They might tell you, for instance, about Sr. Dominic’s impacted wisdoms or that they were making new habits (leaving to the uninitiated the illusion that they were born in them)."

The round about way of prose completely drew me in. The narrator has wit and sense of humour. She is practical too, knowing her owm limitations. This short story needs to be read with lots of concentration. One just can't Breeze through it. If one makes an effort, this story is well worth it.