Title: Me Before You
Author: Emily Slough
Genre: Short Story
❝i should have said no. i should have just hurt you and left you again. but i couldn’t. i had to save you. because i loved you. and because the me before you was just a hopeless boy with superfluous dreams. and you defined me, rain.
and then, after all the anger you had for me leaving you, you left me. after i didn’t let you die that night.
and a new me before you was born.
a me before you left. a me before you died. a me before you fucked it all up. a me before i stopped loving you and started hating you instead.
a me when you were still in that bed with me, your hair spread across my pillows, your eyes like liquid amber as you told me you loved me.❞
in which ford remembers the one night he spent with his ex-girlfriend, rain, before she left.
I have always held short stories close to my heart. Not only are they my favorite thing to write, but the sheer exhilaration at reading one makes me strive to be a better writer. Short stories are under-stated, undeniably under-stated. The amount of effort and soul it takes to write one is outstanding. What short story authors do is art. They have no build up. No back story excluding the few mentionings of someone’s past, but only if it is completely relevant to the story. Short stories tell a life long journey without telling you anything. In these tales, everything is riding on the one moment. The singular moment in time that the story is taking place in, and everything else, the reader improvises through the author’s prompting.
Me Before You is a prime example of why short stories are so…defining. In this story, Ford is falling back into time, remembering a shadow of his ex, an ex that changed his entire life. The amount of sorrow, anger, confusion, and peace jammed into these seven chapters is what I live for.
As if writing in a letter, Ford speaks to his ex, Rain. Emotions are all over the place as his word takes us through their last night together, and the not-so-abrupt ending they were given. The author crafts his enchanting words in such a way that you can’t help but think he is talking to you. When I looked at the cast list for who was playing the parts, I learned that that was exactly what EmSlough was doing as “Ford is played by me” and “Rain by you”. By doing this, you don’t question their motives, but focus on the outcome. You don’t ask why they would leave each other if they were so in love, instead, you find a peace of mind in the fact that they loved each other enough to let the other go.
Having Ford’s perspective was, in all simple terms, refreshing. EmSlough told a whole journey within a few words, letting us gain solace in the fact that we aren’t meant to know anything more than what we are given. That is the beautiful journey of short stories, and is why Me Before You has impacted me and my desire to created a piece like this.
Leaving this review on one last note, I can’t help but think of a quote from one of my favorite authors, that I believe fits this book perfectly.
“So it goes”
Audrey’s Rating: 6/6