In “A Different Road,” Strout writes about Olive and Henry: “No, they would never get over that night because they had said things that altered how they saw each other” (p. 124). What is it that Olive and Henry say to each other while being held hostage in the hospital bathroom that has this effect? Have you experienced a moment like this in one of your close relationships?
“A Different Road” might be my favorite story in the book. It’s really hard to choose.
I don’t want to be the first one to answer the question about what it is that Olive and Henry say to each other that alters how they see each other. What do you think?
Can you think of moments or comments that permanently altered your vision of someone or something? I can think of a few, but I’m not willing to share any of them here. I’m wondering, though, if any of these things really changed the relationship. I don’t think they did. They’re scars, perhaps, dings in the finish, nicks in the drywall, but they didn’t destroy the relationship. Maybe the continuation of a relationship, in spite of the scars and dings, actually makes it stronger. Scar tissue can be tough.
Here’s another line from that story that I really like:
But after a certain point in a marriage, you stopped having a certain kind of fight, Olive thought, because when the years behind you were more than the years in front of you, things were different.
So true! But not necessarily because there are more years behind than in front of you. I think it’s a natural process of spending time with someone, and it happens in all relationships, not just marriages. We come to terms with our own and others’ flaws and weaknesses. We compensate for them, deal with them.
Mike doesn’t tell me to calm down when a bee buzzes near me. Whenever possible, he takes action before it gets near me! Likewise, I take care of all the spiders in the house. And that HUGE one in the Galapagos right by the light switch–it’s best he never hears about that one. He doesn’t argue about how he has to keep his ground moose way far away from the edge on his half of the pizza. I don’t fight the sports.
What are some things you’ve come to terms with in your relationships?