This is my first encounter with Mary Gordon. Separation was first published in Antæus sometime in 1990. We will encounter Mary again as her stories are featured in BASS 1993, 1996 and 2007.
There have been a couple of stories that I’ve read in these anthologies that have caused me to get that “lump in the throat”. I can’t recall them immediately, but we can add this story to the list.
This story is a great example of how a person’s life situation at the time they read a story impacts them.
My reaction to this story today, I doubt would have been the same 4 years ago and surely, different 9 years ago.
And if I read this story 10 years from now or even 20 – perhaps the passage of time would have softened the emotions that this story stirred.
The memories of my first son’s first day of school are all too fresh. The memories of my second son’s first day of school exist even stronger.
Two very different experiences with two very different boys and two very different parents.
I think a lot about our sons moving through the various milestones in their lives.
I know that the feelings we had on that first day of school will come back time and again – and in some cases may even be stronger.
----For the past few nights, the boys have found their way into our bed. This is nothing new. It usually starts with a stormy or windy night that scares them and one will wake the other and I’ll discover a knee in my rib at 3:45 in the morning.
M and I wake and complain about them and scold them for leaving their beds but I think she and I both know that we don’t really mind it.
We know that their time with us is limited. Our time with them could be limited.
All we have is each other and if some comfort comes by to them… and we are just a bit uncomfortable, it isn’t much of a sacrifice in my book.
My oldest son is approaching the age that I was when my father left us. I remember things from that age. I think that his memories at that age will be far better than my memories at that age.