The Faithful Wife by Morley Callaghan, 1930
The magic trick:
Presenting an extreme and memorable situation
I don’t love the way Callaghan tells this story. The woman verbalizes her problem too directly for my tastes. There isn’t as much room for the reader to interpret or imagine as I would like. Callaghan is very direct; black and white, no gray.
That being said, the story still lingers in the reader’s mind long afterward because the premise is so memorable. Sometimes the trick isn’t in the telling; it’s in having a good story to tell in the first place. Sometimes it’s really that simple. This story gives the reader a heart-wrenching scenario on which to ponder. And that’s quite a trick on Callaghan’s part.
“Maybe I’d better go,” he said uncomfortably, feeling ridiculous.
“Eh, what’s that? My husband, he’s at a sanitarium. He got his spine hurt in the war, then he got tuberculosis. He’s pretty bad. They’ve got to carry him around. We want to love each other every time we meet, but we can’t.”