Today’s story reminds us that even loving spouses sometimes will make cold decisions.
[Romance] [Slice of Life] • 2,556 words
Marriage is the hardest thing Carrot Cake has ever done, second only to being a father to his two foals.
Woken by a chill and finding himself quite bereft of blankets, he finds himself pondering the canyon that has appeared between he and his wife.
FROM THE CURATORS: As the description suggests, this is a story about relationship problems — but it’s full of the sort of realism and nuance that elevate the premise from angst to art. “I always enjoy it when writers take a situation from the show and apply real-life psychology to it: how would someone really react to this situation, and how might that reaction change the character’s outlook on life?” AugieDog said. “Even better, we then get the character reacting to that first reaction and deciding it was the wrong thing to do.”
Several of us noted the deft way which Blankets dug back through both the Cakes’ troubled relationship and the incident that caused the rift. “Even when we discover what happened, there’s never any attempt by the author to act like this single thing is what’s pushing them apart,” Chris said. “Instead, this is a story about all the little barbs, all the slightly-too-guarded conversations, all the individually unimportant but oh-so-crucial-in-the-heat-of-the-moment battles which drive people apart, told with beautiful metaphors and no small amount of self-awareness.” And that storytelling finesse even won over our doubters. “It started out feeling like a generic midlife crisis story, but once the curtain pulled back on the original source of their rift, that did wonders for my engagement,” Horizon said. “The central conflict and the realistic approach to that growing divide of paranoia are exemplary, and I really appreciate the way that the resolution turned on trust rather than on the truth.”
But ultimately, Blankets’ strength comes from its uncompromising look at the truth behind a marriage in crisis — and that wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful if it hadn’t gotten so effectively inside its characters’ heads. “Mr. Cake makes no bones about what’s happened,” Present Perfect said. “He’s laying his soul bare, not asking for pity. If anything, this story reveals that he does truly understand his wife in the way only someone who’s been with another for a long time can — we see him seeing himself through her eyes.”
Read on for our author interview, in which MidnightDancer discusses dark days, basic morals, and that old time-thief Soap.