And then your daughter starts college—
not the college you teach at, by the way—
and not long after that your wife comes
into the study one day and says,
“Well really, why should we
pretend any longer?”
And you nod
because you’ve felt it coming for a
long time and you can’t make an
argument for continuing the pretense.
And as you suddenly realize your
wife is still beautiful and you haven’t
thought about it lately, you find out
she doesn’t want the house; she hasn’t
wanted it for years, you find out.
She’s asked her company for a transfer to
Memphis, where she plans to get an
apartment and friends and who knows,
maybe a boyfriend who lives in the 21st
century and doesn’t care about the Civil
War, or tenure, or the stars in the sky that
you look at through your telescope.
You’re sixty years old and it feels like
you’re starting over. Or maybe not
starting over; you’re just over.