Short Story #137: A Kiss in the Night by Lydie Lacaze

Title:  A Kiss in the Night

Author:  Lydie Lacaze


Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943Jeanine and Marcel randomly meet one another at a salon one day and develop a slow-budding relationship.  Jeanine is emotionally lost from losing her husband in the war and Marcel is emotionally removed from what Jeanine assumes (and what Marcel allows her to continue to assume) is the war as well.  They become friends and visit regularly.  Over time, they both recognize the inklings of stronger feelings, but while Jeanine has known love and can express it, Marcel still withdraws emotionally, even though he does love Jeanine.  When they admit their stronger feelings, Marcel also admits to his lying about his injury.  Initially, Jeanine is put off by this but eventually can accept that.  However, Jeanine will not accept their relationship unless Marcel changes and becomes something rather than the malingering shadow of the man she believes he is.  He agrees and in fact, begins to write to prove that he can do something.  This effort though fades within weeks.  When it is clear that Marcel will continue to be withdrawn and do nothing, Jeanine leaves him, refusing to accept him as a partner.  


It's a romantically sad tale that I liked in certain ways.  Jeanine's perception of who he was initially contrasts with his inability to be what she wants him in the end, even though the former was due to circumstance and the latter by choice.  I am also moved by stories in which the lovers are incapable of finding the right thing in the other and ultimately do not make it work.  That may sound bad, but I feel there is something positive in Jeanine's decision to leave him behind and move forward--recognizing her worth.  

Short Story #137 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  5/17/2014
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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