In "The Surrogate", we read about a woman that is faced with a quandary: does she want to fix her marriage, or does she want her job.
Coming home early from one of her all too frequent business trips, she catches her husband cheating on her in their marriage bed with one of her good friends. The reason for his straying is that she never seems to be home, so in her absence, he has taken on a surrogate lover. Now, he has been stung by a wasp, and he is allergic to their venom, landing him in the hospital. As his medical decision maker via a living will, she is called to his bedside. Eventually, they talk about things.
The sex in this story is all just the wife reminiscing about their first time when discussing how she and her husband met. As such, it seemed to lack any urgency or fire.
The plot itself has some holes in it that bothered me a bit. The wife is all upset about catching him cheating, and immediately files for a divorce, while refusing counseling. However, she herself recently cheated on her husband, prior to finding out he was cheating. I did like the living will aspect of forcing to interact at some level. That was a nice use of the recent trend towards living wills.
The story ends at a weird stage. They agree to talk, and he agrees to give her a month to decide if she wants to try to work out their problems. But, she then walks out the door to go on more business trips.
Technically, there weren't any glaring errors, except for some medical ones. For those of you that like your medical facts right, this one doesn't fare so well. Nobody gets a helicopter ride for anaphylactic shock if they live in a urban or suburban area. (Average cost for that ride is $10K or more.) There is no reason for the face to be wrapped up with bandages for a wasp sting, even when allergic. If the patient hasn't regained consciousness, he'd have a breathing tube in, not a mask. Since the medical problem is the reason they start to actually talk to one another, and much of that is not sound, it through the story off for me. However, that's most likely just me!
I had trouble enjoying this story. At first, I felt bad for the woman, coming home and catching her husband in the act. However, finding out later that she herself cheated before she had any idea her husband had been cheating took that sympathy and stomped it into mush. After the medical emergency is over and he is back home, they agree to meet, and talk. The root of their problems is her work requiring her to travel so much. She realizes she loves him, and wants a family, but she needs time to think about whether or not she should change jobs. The abrupt ending gives us no clue as to how things pan out. Does she change jobs? Do they start a family? Does the divorce go through?
This story left me unfulfilled. Sure, there are stories that sometimes should leave you hanging. This one didn't feel like one of those, however. It needed resolution.
With characters I couldn't find myself caring about, medical facts out of whack with reality, and the lack of a solid ending to the tale, I didn't enjoy reading this story. I suspect most readers don't care that much about the medical facts, and so that wouldn't be an issue for them.