Mini Review #1 Someday is Today

The Sun Magazine 441

Magazine: The Sun, September 2012, Issue 441
Title: Someday is Today by Alethea Black

“Everything around us reeks of life: the blooming tulip trees, the fresh coffee brewing, the sun-dappled pool.”

      The narrator of this story is staying with her sister in California to help her with her three children. Her husband has just died, abruptly and unexpectedly from a staph infection. This is a story of tremendous loss, but not the type of loss that happens in a vacuum. For amidst the pain and suffering, the loss and grief—life continues. At first this seems cruel in the story. It is spring, the tulip trees are blooming, the narrator’s nieces are healthy and vibrant, and resilient in the way it seems only children know how to be. When their mother breaks the news to them of their father’s death, one of them asks how long it will take for them to get a new daddy. How can everything else carry on when you have lost the love of your life, the devoted father of your children?
      When the narrator hears her sister wailing at nighttime, she doesn’t go to comfort her she says because she doesn’t know how to join her. “It’s not that my sister and I are not close…”, the narrator begins one paragraph. But as the story continues she seems to realize how far apart they really are. Not only separated by distance, living on opposite coasts, but by their religious beliefs; the narrator believes in God and her sister does not. The title refers to the day the narrator decides to confess to her sister that before her husband’s death she anointed him with holy oil and prayed over him. Her sister’s first impulse is to push her away, but ultimately they are pulled closer together by their shared love of the man who has died and his children.
      The story is filled with poignant images: the narrator’s trips to IHOP with her nieces where she lets them make up nicknames for themselves and order whatever they want, the photos of the narrator and her sister as children, the way six year old Coco rubs her aunt’s back to comfort her, Saltine Teacup asking her aunt why she is crying, Coco kneeling under the stars to pray to her father, and four year old Pepper climbing into her aunt’s lap. Death doesn’t always bring people closer together, in my own experience it has more often driven those who are still living further apart. But this story is not only about the fragility of life and love, but about its overpowering strength and endurance.

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