Raw Silk


This morning I abandoned my only child. She is, at six, a laser-beam blue-eyed anarchist with long bones that even now promise an out-at-elbows adolescence like my own. She also has long feet, which were, when I last saw them, dressed in new wet-look leather and engaged in barking the shins of a certain Miss Meridene of St. Margaret's Boarding School for Girls. "Don't leave me!" Jill screamed. But I smiled at Miss Meridene, and I left her. To four Gothic arches and a life of jodhpurs and rice pudding.

I meant it for total submissions (but mine, not Jill's; not Jill's!). The reason for it, which has nothing to do with the "reasons" Oliver and I have bandied and bounced and flung at each other like crockery these eight months, is good and sufficient. It's so odd that the common tulip tree should be made up of nodes and epidermis, xylem and phloem and matrices; it's only a way among many of looking at a tree, but it can't fail to make a tree more strange and precious. I've been looking at my marriage like that, and waiting for, even looking forward to, the moment when I'd leave Jill at St. Margaret's. And then I spoiled it, nearly changed my mind, and left her with a clich. It's a habit of mine.

© Janet Burroway. All Rights Reserved.