The Kindness of Strangers by Andi Marquette

Aidan O’Brien is on her way to Missoula, where she has enrolled in a grad school. She is also escaping from living in a relationship that has left her with pretty little self-esteem. (Un)Fortunately, her car breaks down and she is forced to spend a few days in Butte, Montana.

It is here that she meets Anne ‘Gunner’ Sullivan, who restores historical buildings for a living. Aidan feels an attraction towards the older woman, but does not dare hope that it might be mutual. The attraction turns out not to be one-sided, but even though the promise of deeper feelings colours the story, that is not what it really is about. Instead, it’s about how understanding and the willingness to listen helps someone regain courage at a very low point in her life.

Beautiful language, very good editing, very believable characters, and a concise story-line earn this short story a nine out of ten, and not more only because I almost never hand out ten points; this time, I was tempted, though.