It’s a hot summer evening, and Kim is getting sweet icy raspas for her and her girlfriend, Elana. The cicadas are screaming, and Kim and Elana are in love. Having just graduated high school, they’re in a moment of transition from one life to another, and their relationship feels as precarious and fleeting as the lives of the molting bugs that surround them. Elana’s going off to college, Kim is still hanging out with an immature high school crowd. How can you feel so close and so far away at the same time?
Ashley Robin Franklin’s Microcosm is a touching and complicated comic that perfectly captures the feeling of a relationship in flux. Ashley forces the reader’s attention on so many small details of this short story -the ants climbing over a shoe, the sounds of the cicadas, Elena’s nervous picking at a empty styrofoam cup- making the emotions, the people, and this moment of change feel so large. Simultaneously fun and dramatic, Microcosm evokes strong emotions, and leaves you unsettled in a very satisfying way.