For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Cathedral”

Raymond Carver

Excerpt

Now this same blind man was coming to sleep in my house.

“Maybe I could take him bowling,” I said to my wife. She was at the draining board doing scalloped potatoes. She put down the knife she was using and turned around.

“If you love me,” she said, “you can do this for me. If you don't love me, okay. But if you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I'd make him feel comfortable." She wiped her hands with the dish towel.

“I don't have any blind friends,” I said.

“You don't have any friends,” she said. “Period. Besides,” she said, “goddamn it, his wife's just died! Don't you understand that? The man's lost his wife!”

I didn't answer. She'd told me a little about the blind man's wife. Her name was Beulah. Beulah! That's a name for a colored woman.

“Was his wife a Negro?” I asked.

“Are you crazy?” my wife said. “Have you just flipped or something?” She picked up a potato. I saw it hit the floor, then roll under the stove. “What's wrong with you?” she said. “Are you drunk?”

“I'm just asking,” I said.

Right then my wife filled me in with more detail than I cared to know. I made a drink and sat at the kitchen table to listen. Pieces of the story began to fall into place.

We read it in Cathedral.