In “She,” published in Issue 18 of Into the Void, author Grace Camille begins with an inventory of the things that the she has chosen to hold onto. Through the memories the objects invoke, we are introduced to the narrator’s own addiction, a need to belong, to be a part of something and to nurture “a proper addiction” that “began as a Hail Mary plan to be accepted by sleek, serious coworkers.”
Camille’s loneliness becomes our loneliness through the use of the third person, creating an emotional distance from events that still allows the reader to recognize. When she meets “him,” he makes her feel needed, wanted. When he leaves for the Peace Corps, the world becomes one of routines. “She jogs in the evenings, washes her hair weekly, flosses daily, eats sometimes,” and the list goes on. One-hundred-and-three days later, she’s still wishing after him, remembering him and longing for what she cannot hold. While she “reaches for his hand,” he is “reaching for a firefly,” revealing the futility of trying to hold onto that which does not wish to be held.
“She” by Grace Camille. Into the Void, 2021.
Reviewer bio: Tyler Hurst is a graduate student at Utah State University studying creative writing while completing his last semester there.