Tanya Rey, our managing editor here at One Story, stepped in as issue editor for #123, “Rocky Point, Mexico,” and so I am turning the introductions over to her capable hands for this wonderful new story. Enjoy! -Hannah Tinti
Many years ago—before email and online social networking—I met my future ex-boyfriend on the phone. I was working as a switchboard operator; he was calling about a bill he’d received. He read me the joke from his Laffy Taffy wrapper and we got to talking. Soon he was calling my toll-free number everyday, we were exchanging letters and our short life stories. By the time we actually met a year later we were nervous and shaky, despite knowing almost everything about each other.
So you can imagine my delight when I first read Caedra Scott-Flaherty’s “Rocky Point, Mexico,” a story about a woman’s initial encounter with the man she’s been dating online. When we (along with the man) first meet the narrator, she is “flesh and bones wrapped in rice paper,” her “kneecaps bobbing up and down in an uncontrollable quiver.” She is frightened and candid, and we know from the onset that we are going to be told a story that goes much deeper than this mere encounter. Not only was I immediately drawn in by the narrative’s unique structure, but I also found comfort in the unflinching honesty and universality related by lines like “Even after so much writing, of trying to squeeze warm flesh from email subject lines, from a quirky lack of punctuation, and one small photo, the things you just can’t know.” The narrator is desperately trying to know something, to absorb enough about one person so that she might meet herself along the way. We slowly learn that she has lost her mother, and that although she is unaware of it, this trip to Mexico is one she must take in order to say goodbye.
At a time when daily exchanges more often involve emoticons than actual displays of emotion, when the shores of our lives are growing closer yet less intimate through email, Facebook and Twitter, it is refreshing to read a story about crossing those barriers into real human experience. For this reason, I thank Caedra for writing “Rocky Point, Mexico,” and I feel confident that she will be telling us stories for years to come.
To read an interview with Caedra Scott-Flaherty about “Rocky Point, Mexico,” click here.