Inventory (Machado)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A woman recounts her sexual encounters with various partners, against the backdrop of a spreading virus. As the world falls apart, she isolates herself on an island, reminiscing about her past experiences.

A woman recounted her various sexual encounters throughout her life. She started with a childhood friend, then moved on to her teenage years where she experimented with her friends. She had her first sexual experience with a man at a Halloween party.

I felt good, like an adult who has sex sometimes, and a life.

She had a boyfriend who didn't like condoms, and a girlfriend who was too nervous to let her go down on her. She had a boyfriend who encouraged her to make out with his friend's girlfriend, and a man who was so skinny she could see his pelvic bone. She had a boyfriend who was six inches shorter than her, and a man who did hard labor for a living. She married a woman, but the relationship soured within a year. She had a fling with a man she met at a funeral, and a man who abandoned his post in the National Guard. She had a relationship with a religious leader, and a young man who had been on foot for a month.

The Narrator — narrator; a woman who has had numerous sexual encounters with both men and women; resilient, reflective.

She had a relationship with an older woman, but they got careless and the woman contracted a virus. The woman died, and the narrator fled to an island where she had been stashing food. She spent her time making lists of every teacher she had ever had, every job she had ever had, every home she had ever lived in, every person she had ever loved, and every person who had probably loved her.

I keep thinking I can see the virus blooming on the horizon like a sunrise.

She realized that the world would continue to turn, even with no people on it.