Day 3 of my recommendations for National Short Story Week and I’ve picked a story that provides the perfect example of the simplicity and power of the short story form. Originally published as ‘Popular Mechanics’ in Raymond Carver’s classic story collection ‘What We Talk About When We Talk about Love,’ ‘Little Things’  is a deceptively simple evocation of the turmoil at the end of a relationship. It’s gut-wrenching, heartbreaking ending, delivered with the most understated closing sentence in short fiction, hits you like a punch to the stomach.

Here’s the opening:

Little Things

Early that day the weather turned and the snow was melting into dirty water. Streaks of it ran down from the little shoulder-high window that faced the backyard. Cars slushed by on the street outside, where it was getting dark. But it was getting dark on the inside too.

He was in the bedroom pushing clothes into a suitcase when she came to the door.

I’m glad you’re leaving! I’m glad you’re leaving! she said. Do you hear?

He kept on putting his things into the suitcase………

Read the rest here: Little Things by Raymond Carver