We recently published Rebecca Field’s devastating “Parallel Blouse.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1) I’m a sucker for an alternate/parallel universe story — it’s so interesting to think of universes where things are different like this, even in small ways. Could there be a universe for these characters where something even different than this has happened, do you think?

I’m not sure whether or not I believe in a multiverse theory where there could be multiple other parallel universes coexisting alongside the one we live in, but I’m open minded about the possibility. I often find myself thinking about the different choices we make day to day and how those many tiny decisions we make without even really thinking about them will have a ripple effect on so many other people our lives interconnect with. Death, and what we leave behind us when we die is another topic I think about often (there’s another piece of mine called ‘Traces of You’ published in Phare Magazine that explores this idea) and so this piece is very much an insight into the slightly morbid things I am often thinking about. So in answer to the question, I’d love to believe there are many possible realities for these two characters in which there are other outcomes, good or bad.

2) And of course, even if there is a parallel universe where there was no argument and the blouse is worn for different reasons, that doesn’t change the fact that in the universe of the story, our narrator is still enduring this loss. Do you think they would try to trade places, if they could, with their parallel counterpart? Or would they think that would be too cruel?

Absolutely I think the narrator of this story wishes to trade places with their parallel counterpart. Imagining that there is a parallel counterpart where something different happened may very well be part of their coping mechanism in dealing with and processing the loss. I think it is natural when we lose someone to spend time imagining the what ifs, and to wish you could go back in time to change things and I think it is also normal to get stuck in that mindset for a period of time as part of the grieving process, as well as to experience guilt or regret that we didn’t get to say or express what we wanted to before it was too late. I know these things have been my experience and so that is something I have drawn upon in writing this piece, which I hope brings some authenticity of emotion to the piece. Ultimately I wanted to end the story on a hopeful note even with the loss still being present, and I hope I got the balance right.