Justin Taylor, “Carol Alone”

9780062310156A widow sees an alligator outside her Florida retirement community.

(from Fling)

The night I left Gerald’s body at the hospital I came home and cut my braid off, coiled the limp thing up like a length of rope, stuck it in a jewelry box, and shut the lid. Now I’m one more short-haired widow after whom nobody whispers.

I hope I never come across some lit class assignment on this story because I don’t want its metaphors splayed out in double-space to shrivel from overexposure. This is what it is: a well-written story about a woman in a sad place in her life in a sad place on the map who sees an alligator. Well, that makes it sound like an oil painting would have done the trick, but no. There’s a plot and scenes and depth. Good stuff. Carol, you woulda gotten along pretty well with Betty White’s Lake Placid character.

I couldn’t find this story online. My search method included googling the phrases “we don’t stay long at the cemetery” and “a gator crawled out of the lake today.” They got one hit and no hits, respectively.


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