Sending Christopher elsewhere

Mary Gaitskill, author most recently of the short story collection Because They Wanted To, wrote a moving piece for Washington Post Magazine about taking two city children, Isaiah and Christopher, into her home for two weeks, sending Christopher away when he and Isaiah didn’t get along, longing for him afterward and finding him again:

When I was talking about Christopher with a friend, she said, “Don’t you think this is really about wanting a child of your own?”

“I don’t want a child. I want him.”

“But he’s already got a mother.”

“I know. But maybe we could foster him and his sister, be like godparents.”

“Does Peter want to?”

“If he doesn’t, I’ll divorce him.”

“You’re talking crazy.”

“I know,” I said.

And I did know. But I was not able to hold back from sending the life vest. It was true; I did have fantasies, so strong and florid they were like a seductive cloud of dreams that I had to grope my way through whenever I called or wrote or even thought about Christopher. But I could also feel something real under the fantasy, though I couldn’t yet see what it was.

(Via Beatrice.)