According to the powers that be (er, apparently according to Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network), May is Short Story Month. To celebrate, the Literary Hub staff will be recommending a single short story, free to read online, every (work) day of the month. Why not read along with us? Today, we recommend:
“Who Will Greet You at Home” by Lesley Nneka Arimah
I love it when a short story seems like it’s going to be one thing and then turns out to be something else entirely—especially when it’s something like this. “Who Will Greet You at Home” is a fairy tale, a myth, a warning—and a thrilling, moving story about desire and love and self-conception. The first sentence alone takes us on a journey, from silliness to a kind of tragedy, from hope to despair; it is, of course, only a prelude. I won’t say anything else about it, because it’s better if you go in blind, except that I couldn’t look up from the page once I’d started reading.
The story begins:
The yarn baby lasted a good month, emitting dry, cotton-soft gurgles and pooping little balls of lint, before Ogechi snagged its thigh on a nail and it unravelled as she continued walking, mistaking its little huffs for the beginnings of hunger, not the cries of an infant being undone. By the time she noticed, it was too late, the leg a tangle of fibre, and she pulled the string the rest of the way to end it, rather than have the infant grow up maimed. If she was to mother a child, to mute and subdue and fold away parts of herself, the child had to be perfect.