I have stated recently that I’m reading more short stories as a part of my reading life. As much as I love reading novels, I’m appreciating the short story on its own terms. Last year, I read an excellent short story collection, Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. My favorite story of the entire collection is Galapago. Galapago tells the story of Pearla Ortiz, a widow, who has an encounter with a man that breaks into her home. Pearla’s granddaughter, Alana, wants to sell the house and move her grandmother into senior housing. This paragraph creates the backdrop for the entire story:
Alana had been suggesting for years that Perala sell her home on Galapago Street and rent an apartment in a building for seniors. The Denver housing market was booming, Alana often said, and retirement homes were much more chic than they used to be. Even houses on the Westside were going for a half million dollars. But Pearla had been on Galapago Street for sixty-two years, since she married Avel, when they were first in the family, on either side, to own property.
Fajardo-Anstine does an excellent job weaving the backstory of Pearla with her late husband in their home and the changing aspect of their neighborhood. Sometimes in life, change is forced upon us no matter how much we want to hold on to the past. Pearla’s life changes forever when the trespasser enters her home and instinct for survival comes to the forefront.
I read the story for a second time before I posted here on the blog and the poignancy hit me in the same manner upon re-reading it. Galapago revealed the inevitably of aging and gentrification simultaneously. Their mix would be always be like oil and water. This story had depth along with thoughtful storytelling that I totally enjoyed. I’m so glad that I took a chance on Sabrina & Corina back in October and reading this story (along with the other excellent stories) transported me to a world that doesn’t get a lot of attention in contemporary American fiction. I connected with this story on several levels and hope it will become required reading for high school and college literature students. I cannot write highly enough about an individual short story. Bravo Kali Fajardo-Anstine!