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A Conversation With Best Debut Short Stories 2020 Author Valerie Hegarty
“Some studies have actually found that a cat's purring can help mend broken bones.”
New England Review
I throw the bandage in the trash can with the clumped kitty litter. I ask the kitty lying with me on the bed on top of the covers, “Did you do your best today? Did you show up and do what you needed to do today?”
The kitty rolls lazily onto her back and stretches out her arms and legs like she’s in rigor mortis. She was recently neutered and I rub her shaved belly and mending incision line. She is purring. She is black with long white feet and white front paws, a white chin and half a white nose.
“Kitten mittens!” I say, rubbing her belly. “Cat jammies! You did a great job today, kitty!”
I adjust the ice pack under my bra. When I lifted my bra up in front of the mirror earlier, there was blood on the outer surgical bandage. I remember the nurses said if I see some blood, that’s normal.
The New England ReviewThe Bed Moved
One Story New England Review.
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“Every interaction between adult siblings presents a chance to get more clarity about the past. Hopefully, we’re able to seize at least some of these chances.”
“I wrote much of the story listening to jazz, including the title song, for inspiration on how to shift without imposing too much of a structure.”
“I wanted to portray the pain of trying to reach someone who is inside their own, unreachable pain, and how this often puts untenable pressure on relationships.”
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“The idea here is the casual way children can accept and parrot this kind of simple, black-and-white math about worth. So much so that in a pinch they are willing write off their own mother!”
“I have always been fascinated by the idea of women being monstrous and beastly because it ruptures the dominant Patriarchal ideal of the shy woman.”
“Since March, how many have had to grow up fast and be valorous because of amoral, wicked, and cowardly leadership?”