At a party, the narrator meets the perfect woman. The perfect woman then goes to study abroad for a semester. When she comes home, things are still good between them, though they have changed. If they weren’t in love before, they are now. They move in together. The fights start.
Heard this one before? Of course.
This is a story, but also an extended metaphor. The author expresses the relationship in terms of physics. When the narrator begins to see certain aspects of his girlfriend differently, he refers to the experience as seeing her through “an oppositely polarized screen.” After a last argument, not only is the polarized screen rotated 90 degrees, “there are two opposite screens on top of each other and the whole picture is black with [my] rage.”
The extended metaphor, as awkward as it may appear at first blush, works. The author uses it to not only describe the evolution of the relationship but also the conclusions the narrator draws after the relationship. The author gives the reader a story, an extended metaphor, and character development.
So much for the writer’s analysis. How does it read from a reader’s standpoint? As a reader, I went along with the narrator on his journey through the joy and wonder of meeting the perfect partner (which does not exist), then doubt, the break-up, and self-discovery.
I liked it.
According to the blurb, author Lynne Sargent is a writer, aerialist, and philosophy Ph.D. candidate currently studying at the University of Waterloo. Their work has been nominated for Rhysling and Aurora Awards and has appeared in Augur Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Plenitude. Their first collection, A Refuge of Tales, is out now from Renaissance Press. To find out more, reach out to them on Twitter @SamLynneS, or for a complete bibliography, visit them at scribbledshadows.wordpress.com.
The story can be read here.
Title: “Decoherence is a Lady”
Author: Lynne Sargent
First published: January 25, 2021, Daily Science Fiction