Come to Me: Stories

Come to Me: Stories

by Amy Bloom


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060995140
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/13/1994
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 988,650
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

In the middle of the eulogy at my mother's boring and heartbreaking funeral, I began to think about calling off the wedding. August 21 did not seem like a good date, John Wescott did not seem like a good person to marry, and I couldn't see myself in the long white silk gown Mrs. Wescott had offered me. We had gotten engaged at Christmas, while my mother was starting to die; she died in May, earlier than we had expected. When the minister said, "She was a rare spirit, full of the kind of bravery and joy which inspires others," I stared at the pale blue ceiling and thought, "My mother would not have wanted me to spend my life with this man." He had asked me if I wanted him to come to the funeral from Boston, and I said no. And so he didn't, respecting my autonomy and so forth. I think he should have known that I was just being considerate.

After the funeral, we took the little box of ashes back to the house and entertained everybody who came by to pay their respects. Lots of my father's law school colleagues, a few of his former students, my uncle Steve and his new wife, my cousins (whom my sister Lizzie and I always referred to as Thing One and Thing Two), friends from the old neighborhood, before my mother's sculpture started selling, her art world friends, her sisters, some of my friends from high school, some people I used to baby-sit for, my best friend from college, some friends of Lizzie's, a lot of people I didn't recognize. I'd been living away from home for a long time, first at college, now at law school.

My sister, my father,and I worked the room. And everyone who came in my father embraced. It didn't matter whether they started to pat him on the back or shake his hand, he pulled them to him and hugged them so hard I saw people's feet lift right off the floor. Lizzie and I took the more passive route, letting people do whatever they wanted to us, patting, stroking, embracing, cupping our faces in their hands.

My father was in the middle of squeezing Mrs. Ellis, our cleaning lady, when he saw Mr. DeCuervo come in, still carrying his suitcase. He about dropped Mrs. Ellis and went charging over to Mr. DeCuervo, wrapped his arms around him, and the two of them moaned and rocked together in a passionate, musicless waltz. My sister and I sat down on the couch, pressed against each other, watching our father cry all over his friend, our mother's lover.

When I was eleven and Lizzie was eight, her last naked summer, Mr. DeCuervo and his daughter, Gisela, who was just about to turn eight, spent part of the summer with us at the cabin in Maine. The cabin was from the Spencer side, my father's side of the family, and he and my uncle Steve were co-owners. We went there every July (colder water, better weather), and they came in August. My father felt about his brother the way we felt about our cousins, so we would only overlap for lunch on the last day of our stay.

That July, the DeCuervos came, but without Mrs. DeCuervo, who had to go visit a sick someone in Argentina, where they were from. That was okay with us. Mrs. DeCuervo was a professional mother, a type that made my sister and me very uncomfortable. She told us to wash the berries before we ate them, to rest after lunch, to put on more suntan lotion, to make our beds. She was a nice lady, she was just always in our way. My mother had a few very basic summer rules: don't eat food with mold or insects on it; don't swim alone; don't even think about waking your mother before 8:00 a.m. unless you are fatally injured or ill. That was about it, but Mrs. DeCuervo was always amending and adding to the list, one apologetic eye on our mother, who was pleasant and friendly as usual and did things the way she always did. She made it pretty clear that if we were cowed by the likes of Mrs. DeCuervo, we were on our own. They got divorced when Gisela was a sophomore at Mount Holyoke.

We liked pretty, docile Gisela, and bullied her a little bit, and liked her even more because she didn't squeal on us, on me in particular. We liked her father, too. We saw the two of them, sometimes the three of them, at occasional picnics and lesser holidays. He always complimented us, never made stupid jokes at our expense, and brought us unusual, perfect little presents. Silver barrettes for me the summer I was letting my hair grow out from my pixie cut; a leather bookmark for Lizzie, who learned to read when she was three. My mother would stand behind us as we unwrapped the gifts, smiling and shaking her head at his extravagance.

When they drove up, we were all sitting on the porch. Mr. DeCuervo got out first, his curly brown hair making him look like a giant dandelion, with his yellow t-shirt and brown jeans. Gisela looked just like him, her long, curly brown hair caught up in a bun, wisps flying around her tanned little face. As they walked toward us, she took his hand and I felt a rush of warmth for her, for showing how much she loved her daddy, like I loved mine, and for showing that she was a little afraid of us, of me, probably. People weren't often frightened of Lizzie; she never left her books long enough to bother anyone.

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Come to Me 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
what an incredible collection of short stories! The insights are wonderful. Poignancy, humor. This book has it all. The B&N summary is in error, descibing a novel set in China. This is a short story collection set in USA.
TanyaTomato on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Silver Water is a wonderful story in this collection.
Bookish59 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was pleasantly stunned by the quality and depth of these stories. Some stories continue into others making them mini-novellas, if you will. The stories seemed familiar to me but then I realized it was because Bloom's strength is pulling the reader deeply into the emotions of the characters making us "part" of the story. I felt I was there IN THE STORY not eavesdropping but possibly a relative or friend who had a familial or intimate right to be there. Where else would I be? Most stories do not have that effect on me. Many novels don't draw me in like Bloom's stories have. I will have to find more of her titles to read. Excellent read! Strangely strong stuff.
suesbooks on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was only moderately interested in most of the stories in this collection. The characters were somewhat interesting, but the stories were usually a letdown. However, Silver Water was so real and moving for me that I could hardly sleep the night after I read it.
karima29 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book of short stories was exquisite. Truly a gem. Something that I want to savour and dip into every now and then. There's a delicacy about it. A sense of softness and intimacy. With no judgments. In the first story we hear about a woman at her mom's funeral, who comes to finally deal with her discovery as a teenager that her parents had an unconventional relationship. Her mom had a lover, with her father's blessing. Not only that, the three of them were very close, and when her mom dies, the two men support each other in the loss of someone they both loved. The daughter herself is not as open-minded and struggles to understand it, while also sensing that this rigid adherence she has to convention doesn't always serve her in her own relationships. For me, that story really resonated. I have often thought, and experienced, that love and life don't always fit in the neat little compartments that my mind sometimes sets out for it; that for my own happiness, I need to blend and blur the edges now and then. The story also speaks to me about not judging other people. That they live their lives, and I live mine; if something works for them, then I'll share in their happiness and peace, instead of allowing my personal judgments to separate us. Especially if it's loved ones. Or maybe even more if it's not. Lastly, I can relate to the story somewhat because I wonder sometimes about the notion that there is one person out there for me. Yes, I might get a close fit, but as complex and multi-layered as I am, I want a relationship that is freeing, and not encumbered. Even though I don't think I'm going to rush headlong into a polyamorous relationship, I can understand the motivation for it quite well.Each of the other stories in this book are as exposing of us in our humanity. It's subtle, and honest. Sometimes quietly painful, as life often is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tzemila More than 1 year ago
it wasnt bad.. i heard of it on a show i watched and thought to check it out.. I still havent finished the whole book but when i have a read a few of the stories.. easy read.. nice style and creative stories.. I like it.. :)