Monday, November 21, 2016

Empty Shoes by the Lake, by Gay Partington Terry

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(Modern Fantasy) Abused by his father, Rafi leaves his small town, but he sends his best friend Becca a gift that will change both their lives. (3,758 words; Time: 12m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Clever and Heartwarming

Asimov's mistakenly categorizes this short story as a novelette.
"Empty Shoes by the Lake," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 12|16, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: From the first few paragraphs, we realize that Becca and Rafi are meant to be together; the plot is simply about how they do it.

Becca's primary motivation is to help people. It's why she found being a teacher frustrating. She's lonely, though, and Rafi is the only boy she ever seems to think about, so I think it's fair to say that being with him is a goal for her. Rafi, of course, thinks of Becca continually.

The image of the bowl itself is interesting. Rafi talks about receiving "cracks" from his father, so it's plausible that the crack in the bowl represents the fact that Rafi still has cracks in him, and he knows it. The crack could also represent the fact that Becca's gift has a blind spot.

Because Becca's gift doesn't let her see her own future, she couldn't predict she'd be shot, nor can she see what the future holds for her and Rafi. But Rafi has a gift of his own, and he seems to like the future he sees laid out in front of him. The empty shoes by the lake seem to represent the past that they both left behind in favor of a future together.

Con: The story is very sweet, but it has no action or tension.

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