Excerpt: 'The Love of My Youth' by Mary Gordon
From The New York Times:
October 7, 2007
“I hope it won’t be strange or awkward. I mean, what seemed strange to me, or would seem strange, is not to do it. Because in a way it is strange, isn’t it, really, the two of you in Rome at the same time, the both of you phoning me the same day?”
Irritation bubbles up in Miranda. Had Valerie always been so garrulous? So vague? Had she, Miranda, always found her so annoying — the qualiﬁcations, the emendations, laid down, thrown out like straw on a road to mufﬂe the noise of passing carriages when there’d been a death in the house? Where did that come from? Some novel of the nineteenth century. The early twentieth. And now it is the twenty-ﬁrst, the ﬁrst decade nearly done for. There’s no point in thinking this way, focusing on Valerie’s habits of speech and diction. As if that were the point. The point is simply: she must decide whether or not to go.
It has been nearly forty years since she has seen him. Or to be exact — and it is one of the things she values in herself, her ability to be exact — thirty-six years and four months. She saw him last on June 23, 1971. The day had changed her.