|This thesis is comprised of a critical introduction and three short stories. The introduction explores my writing process and the struggles and frustrations I encountered and overcame when writing these stories. In the first story, “The Trappings of Mice,” twenty-nine-year-old Webb, estranged from his wife after she has suffered a miscarriage, must dare to imagine a life without the only person he has ever loved. In “Ice,” a college professor waits until she and her husband are deep into a mountain backpacking trip to confess to having an affair. The final story, “Hearts of San Francisco,” follows the journey of a young woman trying to find her biological brother, who does not know that she exists. The characters in these stories, while not connected by age, place, or problem, are all caught in moments of decision that could change the course of their lives.