‘Gideon’ by ZZ Packer

Gideon by ZZ Packer, 2007

The magic trick:

Showing the demise of a relationship in a unique way

P is for Packer.

Spoiler alert here: the relationship in this story does not work out. This should not come as much of a shock. The characters both are in that weird part of life when you’re independent but still not fully formed. Maybe we’re all still in that part. But whatever, you get my point. The narrator’s relationship with Gideon was never built to last.

What does surprise though is the trigger for the breakup.

More spoilers: the narrator is the one who walks out and ends it. But it’s also the narrator’s highly questionable deed (which I won’t ruin here) that is the cause of the trauma. It’s Gideon’s reaction to her highly questionable deed that lets her know everything she needs to know about the relationship.

In that way, I’m not sure I’ve ever read another “demise of a relationship” story that lands at the truth here in the same manner.

And that’s quite a trick on Packer’s part.

The selection:

When I came back to bed, Gideon was splayed out on top of the blanket, slices of moonlight on his bony body. “All right,” he said. “Let’s get a pregnancy test.”

“Don’t you know anything? It’s not going to work immediately.”

He made a weird face, and asked, “Is this the voice of experience talking?”

I looked at him. “Everyone knows,” I said, trying to sound calm and condescending, “that it’s your first missed period.” He mouthed Okay, real slowly, like I was the crazy one.


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