Olde English

A bearded man wearing a brown cardigan sweater watches as a Mexican woman in a maid’s uniform carries a small boy in her arms; watches as she changes the boy’s diapers; watches as she places a plate of scrambled eggs in front of the boy; watches as she gives the boy a bath; and watches as she leaves the house and takes the boy for a walk in his stroller: “Mary had been dead for only a year and a half and no one was talking about her, and Robin doubted if her memory would have much staying power. Mary, his wife, the mother of his son, was not someone who demanded attention; indeed, it seemed enough to merely say her name to get the full import of how ephemeral she truly was and always had been. Her relevance lied purely in the precise and schematic way she had gotten pregnant, given birth, and then died shortly after. He knew that his son would slowly progress towards complete identification with him (achieving this, of course, only with the help of a therapist who would provide the boy with the means of accepting the natural hierarchy in the least subversive manner possible) and then, when the time was right, how he would acquire a girl of his own, preferably one similar to his mother. Without a mother (the very concept seemed redundant and wholly inconvenient) Robin and the boy would be able to enjoy their lives to the fullest, all leading up to the day when the boy would start to separate, a complacent set of distancing actions which Robin would facilitate and which the boy would see through as futile, setting up their ultimate reconciliation. Nothing would trouble or challenge Robin except for the infrequent flashes of his deceased wife’s face in his memory, her expression one of refusal and bewilderment that she should have been rendered superfluous to the very being she helped create and usher into the world. Robin would see to it that there would be no disturbances in the boy’s absorption of his established values and dominant assumptions. What Robin hoped for was that the boy would find a girl who would support him unconditionally and who had no visible life of her own, or, if she did, kept it completely to herself. He also hoped that the boy would never see through the illusory process by which his life acquired such plenty or subject the foundations on which the whole paternal edifice rested to anything more than a cursory analysis.”

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