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I am always somewhat amazed when a story of just two pages can force me to feel a myriad of emotions. The opening is simple, with a couple depicted carving pumpkins, one much more talented than the other. But Clark is 78 while Allison is a youthful 35. We were met with the same jarring age difference in “It’s Bad Luck to Die” as well, and I initially assumed that this element would lead to something greater — the woman using the man or his money, or in McCracken’s story the older man taking advantage of the younger girl. Neither of my assumptions were correct. In facfall leavest, I found myself quickly forgetting about their age  because of the more significant elements of the story. Their relationship is not built upon age but love and compassion (as clichéd as that might sound). There is some hint to Allison’s illness in the first few paragraphs but nothing that led me to believe it was Allison who would soon pass away. In fact, I was under the impression that Clark would be the first to go and that perhaps they had developed this relationship so Allison could care for him.

Toward the end of the story, an act as simple (or as complicated) as pumpkin carving is given an entirely new meaning.

He wanted to tell her, from the greater perspective he had, that to own only a little talent, like his, was an awful, plaguing thing; that being only a little special meant you expected too much, most of the time, and liked yourself too little.

This sort of omniscient narrator touches on Clark’s thoughts in this moment — his age, with this quote, became strikingly apparent. And with that, the story was over…but I didn’t want more. I knew that Allison was dying but that she seemed at peace and the two seemed comfortable. I was filled with hope and sadness, joy and dismay, in only a few pages.

 

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