It’s the final installment of 2016’s The Alice Munro Story of the Month and I selected one of her shorter short stories “The Eye” from her collection Family Furnishing Selected Stories, 1995-2014.
An unnamed female child tells the story of her babysitter, Sadie, in a flashback of sorts. Sadie is ultimately killed by a car and when the narrator attends the funeral (still as a child), she swears to herself that she sees Sadie’s eyelid move while she views her body in the casket. She feels its a sign meant just for her.
The self-imposed isolation of the child when she refuses to tell any of the adults about what she saw is not an unfamiliar theme to Munro readers. Neither is the looking back from adulthood. In the case of “The Eye”, there is a little sadness at what growing up really means:
Long, long afterwards, when I was not at all interested in any unnatural display, I still had it in my mind that such a thing had happened. I just believed it easily, the way you might believe and in fact remember that you once had another set of teeth, now vanished but real in spite of that. Until one day, one day when I may even have been in my teens, I knew with a dim sort of hole in my insides that now I didn’t believe it anymore.