Posted in Short Stories

Mary Ann Taylor-Hall: Banana Boats

Deal Me In 2020 – Week 17

I enjoyed Mary Ann Taylor-Hall’s short story “Winter Facts” so much that I decided to check out another one of her stories, “Banana Boats”, when I selected the Two of Spades for Week 17 of my Deal Me In 2020 short story project – since I save Two’s for a Wild Card choice.

In her twilight years, Rosa looks back at her marriage to Gilbert with both acceptance and regret. Her memories hinge on a moment as a young married couple when Gilbert tells Rosa he’s gotten a job on a banana boat between Tampa and Rio. It would involve being gone for significant amounts of time but he would make more money. She begged him not to – and he didn’t.

As Rosa reviews her marriage in her thoughts, we understand that Gilbert lies, cheats but stays with her. She wonders after all this time what would have happened if she had let him go off on the banana boat:

He used to call her his ball and chain, just kidding, a long time ago.

It’s this “what if” that gives the story it’s emotional tug and gives Rosa’s character both a fragility and a strength. She ultimately feels she is too tied up in her marriage to leave him after all these years. Rosa perhaps thought that over time she would grow to love him. But in Rosa and Gilbert’s older years, we see that didn’t happen. Perhaps Gilbert learned to love Rosa in his own way? No, that didn’t happen either.

I think I liked “Winter Facts” more than this one; however, there’s something about this story that reminds me of William Trevor. The melancholy tone is probably the reason.

This story is included in Taylor-Hall’s collection How She Knows What She Knows About Yo-Yos: Stories. 

yoyo

Check out my Deal Me In 2020 list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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