Anita Brookner

“I remember at that time I went to the hairdresser's. I did this regularly, but I remember that visit for two particular reasons. The first was that next to me was a young mother with a little girl aged about three. The child, whose hair was about to be cut for the first time, screamed with terror and clung to her mother. The hairdresser stood by gravely, comb in hand: he recognised that this was a serious moment. The mother, blushing, tried to comfort the child who had suddenly plunged into despair; all around the shop women smiled in sympathy. What impressed me, and what I particularly remember, was the child's passionate attempt to re-enter her mother, the arms locked around the woman's neck, the terrified cries of unending love. So dangerous is it to be so close! I had tears in my eyes, witnessing that bond, seeing that closeness, of which only a sorrowful memory remained in my own life. One loses the capacity to grieve as a child grieves, or to rage as a child rages: hotly, despairingly, with tears of passion. One grows up, one becomes civilised, one learns one's manners, and consequently can no longer manage these two functions - sorrow and anger - adequately.”


Anita Brookner, Brief Lives
tags: motherhood
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Brief Lives Brief Lives by Anita Brookner
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