Today is a happy day because my short story, “Aurora’s End,” has been published in the Spring 2017 issue of The Puritan. Confetti cannons! Balloons! Trumpets! etc.
First and foremost, I owe a great deal of thanks to my fiction professor and wonderful advisor, Jim Grimsley, as well as my peers who helped me workshop this story last year.
Thank you, as well, to The Puritan‘s fiction editors André Babyn and Noor Naga for all their help in editing and revising this story.
And lastly (but not least-ly), I am forever grateful to Giang and Lina for patiently listening to me read my drafts and supporting me unconditionally.
Okay, now back to business.
This is a Canadian magazine, so please excuse the “colours” instead of “color” and other discrepancies. Basically, if there’s anything at all that you don’t like in this story, blame it on the Canadians and not me.
I can’t say too much about this story because I’m saving that for another blog post in The Puritan‘s author blog, The Town Crier. I’m a bit behind on writing that (gets on the floor and bows in apology to the wonderful Puritan editors), but I’ll let you know when it goes up.
However, I’ll say this much:
This is a story about trying to love someone who you no longer recognize because of their depression.
My thoughts on this topic have changed a lot since I wrote this story in 2016, but one theme has remained constant in all of my shifting interpretations: there are no right answers.
People who haven’t been in Jing’s (the protagonist’s) situation love to tell you what you’re “supposed to do” when someone you care about becomes depressed. But real people have a funny way of failing to align with everything you read online. Somehow, they render useless all the books you’ve read about depression in your search for nonexistent solutions because reality is never that clean. None of those books tell you how far to go or how long to hold out in loving someone who breaks you a little bit every day.
I hope this story challenges you to think critically about how depression impacts everyone, not just the person suffering from depression. I hope it encourages you to love others endlessly while still recognizing and validating your own suffering, your own need for love.
Without further ado, I present to you “Aurora’s End”…
“In December, I became The Girl Who Saw Her Brother Drown, even though that’s only half true. I saw the ice open up and the lake breathe him in, then it was only Augusta maple trees and snowflakes on my eyelashes and so much silence, like he’d never even existed.
It takes three minutes without oxygen for your brain to start destroying itself. I waited for twenty-three minutes sitting cross-legged below an aspen tree, drinking tea from Tai’s thermos. It was too hot and he’d said to wait or I’d burn my tongue, but I burned it anyway and kept drinking until everything tasted like ash. Then the northern lights started casting purple banners across the sky, fifty-four minutes too late. I saw every colour and I saw colours that only existed for that moment and I saw every single star combust, but I did not see my brother drown. He was somewhere beneath the ice, while I was looking up at the sky….”
(Finish reading in The Puritan)