November 8, 2019

How can we deal with loss in the face of uncertainty?

Nash Waugh, 16

This short story explores the aftermath of the disappearance of the main character’s sister. Throughout the piece they grapple with denial, feelings of powerlessness, and a sense of emptiness.

In this situation, there is nothing that the main character can do to bring their sister back. And yet, they are desperate to do something, anything, to feel like they can help. Ultimately, they realise there is nothing they can do. Putting up posters, lashing out at perceived frivolity – these are just ways to cope that cannot resolve their situation.

The biggest obstacle to the character beginning to address their painful emotions and the path to recovery is that the fate of their sister is uncertain. They don’t know what happened to her, if she will come back, if she is dead – and this ambiguity is torturous. They begin to construct a narrative to help them take control of the situation and to give them an outlet for their anger, placing all the blame on their sister’s partner. However, they realise what they are doing, and come to the painful realisation that there will always be uncertainty. At the end of the story we are all left to wonder: what now?

Waste and Wild, 2019Short Story