Short Story: "Daydreams" by Merrill Joan Gerber
a short story
from LADIES' HOME JOURNAL MAGAZINE, November 1970, pg 106
First Sentence: "You know how it is about daydreaming. You're doing something like folding the laundry, having to turn each and every one of your husband's socks right side out, and the only notations on your social calendar for the month are the dentist appointments for the children and the PTA meeting and suddenly a picture comes into your mind of an old sweetheart placing in your arms a dozen American Beauty roses, or of dancing in white satin shoes till the sun rises on a certain New Year's morning."
Last Sentence: "But that daydream will not be so treacherous as the one that has just left a man, sick to heart, in a phone booth on the other side of the country, simply because a woman wanted to remember when she was young and just beginning to have power."
Author: Just typing this author in the search bar brings up many pages about this award-winning author of several novels both for adults and YA. She is also a master at the short story and has numerous published collections. I had not heard of her before.
This is a fantastic story. One which really makes you appreciate the short story for what it is. Taking a moment in a woman's life, an inconsequential slightly selfish moment that turns out tragically to make a man's already sad life even more painful. Beautifully written, the words just flow and the reader is carried away with the woman, not thinking her actions could be anything but harmless. The first half of the story one dreams along with her of younger days, no responsibilities. The second half, though, is a contrast. When her daydream is over and forgotten, weeks later the thoughtless folly of her actions is made real. Her content, happy present has made her view of the past one way in her mind, but the man she shared that past with has an entirely different view of it as his present is sad, unhappy and unfulfilled. Her small action has caused an avalanche in his life. Something she has already forgotten about may cause this man agony for the unforeseeable future. A terrific piece of writing and I'll certainly be on the look out for this author's name in the future!