Aimee Bender, "Faces"

A mom suddenly discovers her son can’t tell people apart. Or tell one person from a group.

(from The Paris Review 191)

On an unusual day during my childhood, my mother showed up at school and asked me questions about myself. I was twelve or so then, and generally I found my own way home: bus, walk, bike, hitchhike. I hardly recognized her car, waiting there by the flagpole with all the other mothercars until she honked and beckoned me inside.

“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” I said at the window.

“Get in, William,” she said, pushing open the door. “How was school?”

“Why are you picking me up?”

“Get in,” she said, pushing the door open more.

I had, right then, a fast stab of fear in my stomach, like maybe she would kidnap me. Except for the fact that she had birthed me. It was confusing.

I guess what we’ve got here is one of those Oliver Sachs/The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat quirky cognitive situations. A funny, probably real disease. Bender handles the revealing gently, with lots of dialogue, not always plot-advancing. Which makes the whole thing funnier and more baffling. Read the first bit of it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>