Sorry for the Loss
“Sorry for the Loss” is a short story written by the author Bridget Keehan in 2008. Bridget Keehan is a writer who lives in Cardiff, Wales. The short story is from “Eagle in the Maze” which is an anthology of stories from a short story competition.
“Sorry for the Loss” starts in the middle of a context, with other words in media res. We get introduced with our main character already from the first line, “Evie has to tell Victor his Nan is dead”, which is Evie and whilst reading the short story its not challenging to figure out that we are following the situation of our main character, Evie, and we also get to know that it’s a 3rd person narrator.
When you start a story in media res, there is a high chance of a lot of questions popping up in your mind, because one can argue that it starts confusingly, but after a while it gets easier to understand where you are, and what kind of challenges the main characters has. That is also the case with “Sorry for the Loss”, until we pick up information about the short story while reading it. We can figure a couple of things out ourselves. To begin with we get to know it takes place in a prison, “Although she has been in post for over a year she still finds the environment of prison abrasive and intimidating”. Just from this sentence we get to know the environment, and we get personal data about Evie. Because of the short story being a 3rd person narrator, we as readers get to follow the thought process of Evie, and the emotions she feels at the specific moments. Later in the text there are several points that tells us as readers that our main character, Evie, is a religious catholic. Her working place is surrounded by men, and she is the only woman in the prison. Evie works in the department that goes by the name of ETS – Enhanced Thinking Skills, and she must deliver a difficult and heartbreaking message to a prisoner.
The conflict in the short story “Sorry for the Loss” is introduced to us in the first line, which is the same line as the one when we get introduced to our main character, “Evie has to tell Victor his Nan is dead”. Evie gets the honor to tell the prisoner Victor that his Nan is dead, and we get the feeling that Evie isn’t too excited about giving the message to Victor, because she is afraid of the reaction from the prisoner. She tries to research him before delivering the news but has difficulties with that. Evie tries to calm herself and get her emotions under control because she is affected by her surroundings, “Evie deeply treasures this precious quiet time before unlock. It gives her a chance to try and establish a feeling of calm in spite of the harsh surroundings. She attains this calm through prayer”. After she is down to earth again, Evie compares her praying with how junkies feel after taking heroin. The time has come for Evie to deliver the message to Victor and she has no way back, she just must live with his reaction no matter how it is.
The point of no return in the short story appears when our main character Evie is asking for the way up to Victors cell. Before going in to the cell she has imagined several possibilities of how Victor looks. This situation is obviously new for Evie, so before she actually gives the message she has thought about basically everything there is to think about. Evie also ask the officer before going in about how he thinks Victor will take the news. She is so afraid for the reaction that she wants to make sure everything is safe before she does it. We don’t get any indication about is the officers answer makes Evie feel any better or not, but in the end, she has no other choice than to give the message about Victors Nans death to him.
“She is relieved to discover that Victor Zamora is not the angry man from the computer room but a slight, good-looking boy who appears barely old enough to be in an adult jail”. Evie heart beats a bit slower after seeing the way Victor looks. She is relieved when she noticed one of the possibilities about his appearance isn’t as bad as it could be. But she hasn’t delivered the though part yet, and how to start the conversation doesn’t make it any easier. Luckily for Evie, Victor begins the conversion between them and asks about another thing. Evie has no idea about what he is talking about, and she decides to introduce herself to Victor, and goes straight to the reason why she has visited him at his cell. The reaction she gets from Victor surprises her a lot. “He sniffs hard then looks to the small thick barred window where a pigeon is perched, cocking its head from side to side” Whilst imagining how the outcome would be Evie thought Victor might hit her, or ruin in to pieces, but he stayed calm and cool when he got the news. A thing to point out in this situation is when we get the reaction from Victor. There is a pigeon in place at the same time as the news got told. A pigeon is a symbol of peace, and I bet its no coincidence the author Bridget Keehan placed this specific animal at this specific time in this specific short story.
The short story “Sorry for the Loss” ends with our main character, Evie, gets told the story behind why Victor Zamora was in the prison at such a young age.