By Abigail Airuedowinya
This story is a ride! At its core, Common Sense is a touch of loneliness, a dab of depression, and a whole lot of envy. Airuedomwinya paints a stellar picture of a distraught mother-to-be in Common Sense.
This story is about a serious case of domestic violence and a distressed woman who has a baby on the way with nobody to turn to in this time of need. At first, Emma and Yun’s relationship was joyous…..but not really. I think Emma really believed that because she was eager to fall in love, and marry, and start a family. I mean, one of the things Yun said to Emma on their first date was, “You look like a rose tree with half of it already dead.” As poetic as that is, and I really do love the imagery, it isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship on the first date. And Emma knew that, she just chose to dismiss it.
The absolute best part about Common Sense is the bathroom scene. This scene builds SO. MUCH. TENSION. She’s trying to talk with Yun, whom she has just prepared the bath for, and she’s looking in the mirror, pulling her hair until it burns, and still holding a casual conversation without bringing any alarm to Yun. The little bit of dialogue paired with Emma’s inner dialogue, really does something special. It brings the reader into Emma’s headspace, almost leaving the bathroom entirely. And then Airuedomwinya drops us right back into the bathroom just like Emma is brought back, staring at herself, “barefoot and angry.”
Emma and Yun had only been married for a year, and I wouldn’t assume they dated too long before marriage, just because of the face that the story only mentions three dates. But, in that short time, she had built up so much anger, resentment, and doubt that she had driven herself mad. And she knew that if she stayed, she would be setting her child up for failure.
While Airuedomwinya only touches on the small party at the end, a lot is gleaned from it. Only a few people come, three friends and Yun’s mother. We learn that everyone hides things, and no matter how hard we try we can’t hide the truth. And Emma, in an effort to confide and trust and rely on somebody, is only let down and left truly alone when her own mother-in-law ignores her cry for help.
Common Sense is dark and the themes are heavy, almost gothic. The entire story has a gray hue to it, and I love that about this story. It uses about 1,800 words, and I think this story would have really benefited from fleshing out some more of the detail and bringing the reader into that party at the end. I think I would rate this story a 3.5 out of 5 stars. And, I don’t put that lightly. I want more from this story, I want to keep reading it! I love Emma, her character is tragic and beautiful. And I think utilizing those other 1,200 words would have really made it sing. Nonetheless, Airuedomwinya tells a beautiful tragedy of heartbreak and resentment, and she tells it well.
Thank you for reading! Have you read this story yet? What did you think of it? Join in on this discussion in the comments below!
Interested in reading this story? Or more of Airuedomwinya’s work? Read it here.