from “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen

In this scene an unmotherly mother attempts to mother a teenage daughter who has been raped;

“It was shocking to see her mother in the gym and obviously shocking to her mother to find herself there. She was wearing her everyday pumps and resembled Goldilocks in daunting woods as she peered around uncertainly at the naked metal equipment and the fungal floors and the clustered balls in mesh bags. Patty went to her and submitted to embrace. Her mother being much smaller of frame, Patty felt somewhat like a grandfather clock that Joyce was endeavouring to lift and move.”

 

“Well then how could this happen!”

“Let’s just go home.”

“No. You have to tell me. I’m your mother.”

Hearing herself say this, Joyce looked embarrassed. She seemed to realise how peculiar it was to have to remind Patty who her mother was. And Patty, for one, was finally glad to have this doubt out in the open. If Joyce was her mother, then how had it happened that she hadn’t come to the first round of the state tournament when Patty had broken the all time Horace Greeley girls’ tournament scoring record with 32 points. Somehow everybody else’s mother had found time to come to that game.”

2 Replies to “from “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen”

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