A Simple Exchange of Niceties
“A Simple Exchange of Niceties” is a short story written by Joanne Fedler in 2007. In the story, we hear about a young adolescent, who accidently has become pregnant. She explains that the pregnancy just sort of happened, and that she has now been left alone. Her initial thought is to get rid of the baby. While bearing the child she’s smoking. Even though, you are not supposed to smoke when you are pregnant, however, this fact is insignificant to her. The word insignificance is a reasonably fitting description, of the narrator’s view of herself. The protagonist seems to be stuck in life. Jail time, a failed childhood, sexual relationships and occasionally one-night stands characterize the protagonist’s life as a feeble teenager. She has a compulsive relationship to a certain bench in the park, which she refers to as her bench. She doesn’t like to share it with others, at all. One day while relaxing at the bench, a woman approaches her and the bench; “Do you mind”. “I looked up”. “Did it look like I didn’t mind? I was lying down, relaxing on my bench, one hand on my belly, the other holding my cigarette.” The twos start to small-talk and the girl discovers that the woman is carrying a book with the title; “When fertility fails”. Suddenly the girl understands that the woman is infertile. Although the girl initially planned to have an abortion, she decides to bare the child, for another woman. So that she can give it away. Unfortunately she never meets the woman again, and ends up keeping the baby herself. The protagonist, our narrator, sees herself as “the unwanted child”. The description about her mother’s view on her as a child is terrible, but very central. Her view has had a strong effect on the protagonist. She feels rejected, especially as child. She thinks that her mother doesn’t love her, and would do anything to dispose of her. The protagonist considers herself as “bad news”, which is her explanation to her mother’s lack...
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