"Some of Us Can Leave" by Sara Schaff

Once an aspiring artist, Liz now paints nails at the Nifty Nails Salon. Having no knack for customer service, she’s let go from her job. But that’s soon neither her nor there when shortly after her firing, she discovers she’s pregnant.

What might be a typically happy and life-changing moment turns out to be anything but in Sara Schaff’s summer 2011 story, “Some of Us Can Leave.”

Some us in fact can’t leave, is what the pregnancy reveals to Liz. She’s trapped at so young an age, as one part of a married couple in their early twenties, now soon to be further grounded by a child. An uneventful future of domesticity—a life imprisonment of sorts—awaits her.

She and her husband have their yearly “thing,” an early summer trip to Niagara Falls. The nearest thing to cultural excitement she’s ever felt is seeing Africa via a production of The Lion King in New York. When she poses the idea of traveling the world, her husband happily dismisses her suggestion, ever so happy with the status quo.

Liz’s is a pathos-inducing story of quiet and concealed regret over a life that could have been. But despite the tragic trajectory of her life, the story brims with some nice counterposing humor. And maybe, just maybe, a glimmer of hope—of some escape for our imprisoned heroine.

Rediscover or read “Some of Us Can Leave” for the first time.