The Blanket by Susan Tepper

On the business trip to Calgary she bought one of those white blankets with the green and red and yellow border stripes. Henry calling it ugly when she takes it out of the suitcase and drapes it across the foot of their bed. It’s a famous pattern from that region of Canada she tells him. He kind of snorts then leaves her alone to finish unpacking. She kicks off her shoes and climbs on the bed resting her face against the blanket’s soft wooliness. Every night as they walked to dinner they passed a group of prostitutes. It was January and so cold there. The women stood on the corner near the steakhouse turning this way and that. Most of them had on very short skirts with short furry jackets. Cheap looking fur like rabbit. She wondered how they could endure. Their legs exposed in such frigid weather. She could hardly make it into the steak house. She rubs her face against the Calgary blanket. Thinking about those women rubbing their faces into the bodies of men.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “The Blanket by Susan Tepper

  1. guy

    I like the parallel dualities of blanket & men/Henry. The blanket is scratchy but warm, the men desirable but distant.

  2. Different ways to keep off the chill, and the ending was perfect.

  3. poignant images and very deftly turned…we know his name, Henry, but not her’s. While her thoughts about the prostitutes, the cold and the blanket’s comforts are held primary (her internal state) …it’s the subtle details in the hotel that gives the wider angle view, her kicking off her shoes, climbing the bed, and him snorting and being dismissive of what she says. Well done.

  4. Her turning to the blanket after Henry’s derision, turning to thoughts of the prostitutes is touching and sad. Really well crafted.

  5. Beautifully presented, Susan (as always!). You’ve told so much about the relationship in just this brief interaction.

  6. this has such a warm peculiarity to it – quirky and offbeat but cozy

  7. Susan.

    I found early on that I was very sympathetic to the woman and her blanket. I felt cold when you were describing the prostitutes and their exposed legs. I wanted to give them the blanket, but somehow knew that wouldn’t be quite right. Nicely done.

  8. John Riley

    Henry is as distant and cold as the men who pick up the prostitutes . The sense there is only a blanket between her and them is very subtle and powerful. So much said and little stated. A really great story.

  9. Fabulous. And what John said is what I was thinking exactly. Peace…

  10. Very nice sketch of this couple and the (very specific) world around them. The great thing about exercises like this is that there could be more to this story, depending. Always a pleasure to read your stuff, Susan.

  11. Kelly

    Henry not liking the blanket – this seemed to set them apart aesthetically, emotionally, turning her inwards to reflect on the commerce and comfort of the flesh

  12. I liked the jusxtaposition: jackets – rabbits, women – steakhouse. Nicely done story!

  13. “He kind of snorts,” is so telling. I’m amazed that you can touch so many bases in so few words. I love the juxtaposition of the physical cold and the emotional coldness. Your story has also taken me to the comfort a thumb-sucking baby derives from his special blanket. Doris

  14. The cold factors into the entire piece, and the blanket…well, so many ways this can be taken, of course. And leave it to you, Susan, to weave all of these wondrous elements into this complete finite and glorious piece.

  15. Melissa

    I like how you transition from the blankets to the prostitutes and how it fits so well with the ending.

  16. sharp stuff, susan. as always.

  17. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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