Synopsis: “I had to walk away. The stairs would only ever go up and up and up.” In this seven page absurdist fiction story we follow the musing of a girl who lives nowhere, with no one. Every day she climbs a set of stairs, not knowing where she will end up or what her point in life is. She wonders about the meaning of life and the world outside of herself.
I devoured this short story in just one burst, in that post-novel itch for something else to read. Remembering that Abi describes this as absurdist drew me in, and the story had me from the second paragraph.
I’m in love with the way Abi uses gentle repetition – of words, of phrases – throughout, and the way that I can’t picture this storyteller as a real girl. At the same time though, I can. I can imagine this girl, drifting through a universe of her own making, her narration dubious as she weaves a story. Also: the frequent repetition of I as a sentence starter. Even as she’s wondering about an outsider world, she’s focusing her narrative lens upon herself, building herself up as the centre of the world like she builds upon the steps she traces.
And at the same time, I’m frustrated for this girl, and her almost-Sisyphean task of climbing, never unclimbing the stairs, intrigued by her wildness – a wild feminine person, you could say – and how somehow she puts me in mind of the Sirens luring their prey in with magic. I’m wondering what becomes of her when she runs out of stairs.
My favourite line happens to be the one that hooked me: “Have you ever seen moss the colour of dried blood? Have you ever seen rocks the colour of amber?”
If this story were on Goodreads I’d be marking it four stars, but I couldn’t find it there so I will have to simply tell you.