Short Story #127: Other People's Meals by Lucie Delaraue-Mardrux
Title: Other People's Meals
Author: Lucie Delaraue-Mardrux
SummaryThe story begins at a party where a group are observing a dashing fellow, named Calixte who is an artist. They explain how he had been enamored with Germaine but she never gave him the time of day and mocked his pursuit. However, at this party, Germaine is commended for her inviting Calixte by an old banker. Somehow, this changes her disposition and she becomes quite agreeable to him. This starts a relationship and they continue to see each other beyond the party. As they spend more time with each other, Calixte is determined to learn about every lover and trespass Germaine has committed. He is warned by others about how Germaine chews up men and spits them out but still goes forward. Eventually, he convinces her to go away to a house with him in the woods. While exploring the grounds with her small dog, they encounter a watchdog who nearly devours the small dog. The groundskeeper explains that the dog was aggressive because it feared the small dog would eat part of food. The groundskeeper feeds the dog explaining that it eats even though it is not hungry but always has room for other people's meals. Germaine and Calixte continue their time together at the house. When he has her alone, he tells her that she is entirely his. The next few days are a mix of passion and re-confirming his conquering of her. After a week, the frenzied Calixte relaxes. During one of their hikes, he suddenly does not see the same beautiful Germaine any more but all of her inadequacies become present and it's clear that something has changed. The awkwardness grows between the two and by the next morning, it is clear that whatever they have is gone.
ReflectionThat Calixte was more interested in the pursuit than the aftermath plays well with Germaine who is explained as having spit out lovers with regular frequency. The quick rise and burning out of the two lovers is well captured. Calixte's obsessive and possessive desired for Germaine is something I would guess many lovers have felt at some point in their earlier love escapades, but of course, his execution borders on coercion if not sexual violence. There is an ominous line: "And he made her feel the force of his possession as vehemently as he could." The next paragraph starts with speaking about the next morning. Without any of her viewpoint, this line makes me question what that "force" really was. Did he force himself upon her? It's hard to tell entirely but it certainly feels that way.
Short Story #127 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 4/30/2014
Source: Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare. The World Publishing Company, 1943. You can find this story and others in this anthology at this resource.
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.
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