This story could be read as a realistic tale of a woman who is jilted on her wedding day. But it is also easy to see it as eerie and unsettling. The story begins with a young woman (age 34) trying to decide what to wear for her wedding that day. Her fiance has come into her life recently and the proposal seems to be unexpected. When the time he was supposed to appear comes and goes, she sets out to find out what befell him. She visits the apartment he claims to live in, the florist where he might have bought flowers, the shoe shine man who might have polished his shoes. Eventually she works her way to a building where someone reported seeing him. On the top floor are two doors. One gives way to a dilapidated room. but she can hear laughter behind the other door. She knocks but no one answers. She returns on occasion to this place but he is never there.
Was he ever there? Although she claims to be 34, you can easily see her as much older given the way she is treated. I really expected to find out this had all happened fifty years earlier and she was locked into a Groundhog Day scenario.
Her lover's name is Jamie Harris. Maybe Jackson is establishing a link to this.
"The Daemon Lover", also known as "James Harris", "James Herries", or "The House Carpenter" (Roud 14, Child 243) is a popular Scottish ballad dating to around 1685. Roud records the title as A warning for married women and identifies the woman in the song as "Mrs. Jane Reynolds (a west-country-Woman) born near Plimouth who having plighted her troth to a Seaman, was afterwards married to a Carpenter, and at last carried away by a Spirit."
As always the excellent writing carries this story.