Man On The Stairs – Miranda July
From the collection ‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’
“This short tale opens with the uncomplicated premise of a woman waking in her bed to the sound of a man’s footprints coming up the stairs. But there the familiar story device ends and we find ourselves entwined in a dark tale of anxiety and paranoia. The biggest worry we find isn’t who the man is, his intentions or the fear that the unknown brings, but rather it is the whirling thoughts within the narrator’s mind about the concerns that plague her life.
There are beautiful passages of wordplay here; ‘my breath was cowering, I couldn’t shape it.’ But what makes this story magical is the unexpected source of the narrator’s fear – fear not for unknown and unexpected, but rather for the known and expected; her relationship with her boyfriend, her own shortcomings, her disappointment in her best friend. Real life, we discover, scares her far more than any spooky, ghost-like stranger on the stairs.”
The SHORT TALE Review 2016