What happens when one’s illusions unravel? This is the question that animates Patricia Horvath’s debut story collection, But Now Am Found. A young man experiences heartbreak for the first time when his girlfriend rejects him on religious grounds. One woman fixates on a crossword puzzle to avoid thinking about her missing daughter while another, in a deeply troubled marriage, gives birth. The characters in these stories struggle to make sense of upheaval in their lives. But Now Am Found is a compelling exploration of the human spirit confronted by abrupt and rending change.
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She turns in bed, too early to rise, the sky sickly yellow, red-rimmed. Red in the morning, sailors take warning. But she is not adrift, mattress firm beneath her, box springs, bed frame, concrete floor. She has risen too early is all, tossing and turning through a sleepless night, no particular reason, the occasional mild disturbance she attributes to age. The sun has not risen, curious phrase, the sun as we know neither rising nor setting, fixed in the sky, unmoving, planets spinning around it, turning and turning on their axes. She does not feel this, of course, the earth’s rotation; such a thing would be intolerable, the unceasing sensation of movement, the constant reminder of time.
The day has not taken a turn for the worse, figure of speech, but still. The phone has not yet rung, no reason to be awake so early in the morning, a Sunday, the second in May, the one with flowers and cards.
She lies still. She thinks of her son.
He is driving now, moving back home, another year of college completed, exams taken, courses passed. Suitcases in the well, music playing, sun in his eyes. He has left early, driving for hours, passing borders, towns then states. Too soon yet to turn off the highway, too soon to stop for coffee, for gas, a quick pee—Hey, your lights are on!—thanking the attendant, looking away just long enough to do that, to switch them off, not seeing the driver, the other car running a light, looking up too late, blinded by the sun.
In bed, the woman tosses and turns. Morning has not yet begun; she knows she should sleep but the thought of him, alone on the still dark road, causes something to rise in her, some feeling she must quell. Her fears inchoate, not concrete, she cannot put a name to them. Sleep is all, sleep is what she needs.
She turns on the light.
Soon he will be here, the phone has not rung, and though she cannot feel it, the earth is still moving, no way to make this moment stop, though later, sooner than she can know, that is all she will want.