When You Recall

When your child lives, he carries with him all his earlier selves, so that you cannot separate your individual memories of him from your view of him now, at this moment.  When you recall a particular event in your and your child’s shared past–a day at the beach, a Christmas morning, a sad, weary night of flight from the child’s shouting father, a sweet, pathetic supper prepared by the child for your birthday–when you recall these events singly, you cannot see the child as a camera would have photographed him then.  You see him simultaneously all the way from infancy to adolescence to adulthood and on, as if he has been moving through your life too rapidly for any camera to catch, and the image is blurred, grayed out, a swatch of your own past pasted across the foreground of a studio photographer’s carefully arranged backdrop.

From Russell Banks’ story, “The Child Screams And Looks Back At You”

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