Shelagh Power-Chopra brings us this week’s fiction nugget, “Appointment“: A 257-word punch in the gut. Let’s start with the narrator. He took full form, even though there wasn’t an overwhelming lot of details about him. Power-Chopra chose wisely, telling us just as much about his self-esteem as she does his hair: “His hair was limp and a mousy brown but she never made him feel bad.” He’s the type of person whose rituals round out his life; he’s missing real intimacy and instead takes arbitrary sentences from his hairdresser like tokens he can run his fingers over late at night. This isn’t some guy truly in love with a woman in his periphery, his fantasies serve him and so does the “living ghost” of his fantasies. In this way, finding out the narrator’s object of obsession has a husband, a “love of her life” is both confirming and satisfying, despite the circumstances surrounding him.
But more than creating the narrator in his bubble, Power-Chopra illustrates a universal moment where our fantasies are quickly and efficiently slashed to pieces, like the narrator’s hair at the end: “He stared at the mirror, his hair looked chewed up—severed by a miniature lawnmower.” There is no discrimination of race, gender, or even social skill level for dashed hopes and hopeless circumstance.