Jacob Guajardo, “What Got Into Us” (2017)

Two teen-age boys whose mothers live together and who develop sexual affection and love for each other, written in a deliberately insistent present tense, the tense of the uncertain confessor whose every line seems to beg a question mark, unrequited. They break rules. They grow up. Rio, the narrator’s love, breaks more rules than the narrator does. They break rules together after the narrator marries and awaits a child. Rio is not happy about it. Life goes poorly for him, and well for the narrator. “We will wonder what got into us.” The starkness stands out more than the story does.

Passages North Nr. 38, Best American Short Stories 2018

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