Reflections of a History Professor Looking Through a Telescope at 4 a.m., Part V



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.


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