Short Fiction Friday: Please Undo This Hurt

Please Undo This Hurt by Seth Dickinson

Ever feel like you care too much? After a breakup, after the feels like the way to win at life is to care the least.

That's not an option for Dominga, an EMT who cares too much, or her drinking buddy Nico, who just lost his poor cat. Life hurts. They drink. They talk.

Nico's tired of hurting people. He wants out. Not suicide, not that - he'd just hurt everyone who loves him. But what if he could erase his whole life? Undo the fact of his birth? Wouldn't Dominga be having a better night, right now, if she didn't have to take care of him?

And when Dominga finds a way to do just that, when she is gifted or armed with a terrible cosmic mercy, she still cares enough to say:
I am not letting him have this. I am not letting Nico go without a fight.

Now this is a powerful story. My interest was drawn actually by Seth Dickinson's name. I know his The Traitor has gotten a lot of praise, I also have the copy awaiting a review, in the meantime I thought to read this story. And wow, what an emotional ride. 

The story picks up with both Dominga and her friend Nico having a conversation in a  bar. It quickly comes to show that Nico has a lot of problems in life, mostly with himself and his self acceptance, but an issue where he lost his cat pushes him over the edge. During that conversation they drink and that seems to ease a lot of the problems of Nico, only easing it. A few days later Dominga has a terrifying experience at her work that puts her in a rough spot as well, and makes her think. In her line of work as an EMT she has come across a lot of tough experience but the swimmer does make her think. He went there with a reason. Now she is facing a burnout herself as well as the problems with Nico that are growing. Then there is this beautiful moment in the story that make you stop reading and thinjk about your own position. Very confronting and fully through. 

When people say that they want out it is often thought that they mean suicide. Well believe me that this isn't a story about suicide. Please Undo This Hurt is about the often encounter where you would wish you had made a different choice, the realisation that action that you do, even if you mean them well end up hurting people and it happens over and over again. With resulting that you just want out and stop hurting the people you love. 

The confronting bit is that I think is that everyone must have felt like this one moment in their lives and thus makes this a very relatable. Again a powerful and gripping story. One of my favorite short stories of the year so far. 


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