We all make mistakes in our live. We lose the people we love, and we break bonds of trust we otherwise thought were unbreakable. The tragic thing is that no matter how much we want to make things right, there will always be a great risk of making yet another error.
In Mark Slouka’s Crossing from 2009 a divorced man takes his young son out on a camping trip, seeking to rebuild their relationship by conquering a wild river which gets in the way of rebuilding a broken relationship with his son who has to trust him from slipping on the rocks of the river. Life and death depend on this trust, but perhaps the risk is too big?
The title of the short story is also interesting in several ways. The title “Crossing” has two different meaning to it; literary level and symbolical level. On a literary level, it is simply just a story about a father and his son who has to cross a river.
But on a symbolical level, it could be interpreted as a story with a main character who is struggling to get a foothold after his divorce where he is crossing from being a normal family father to facing failure of a divorce. He is in the process of crossing from his old role to finding his new role in life.
The themes of “Crossing” are relevant in this context as it is identity and trust. The main character is “crossing” from one role to another; from a normal family father and husband to a divorce, and being a single parent for the weekend. He is trying to be the best father for his son by recreating those experiences he had with his own father.
The message of the short story is that finding and holding on to your own identity is a difficult task when so much is changing in your life. Also, the theme of trust is important e.g. when the father is trying to rebuilt his relationship with his son who has to trust him not to slip on the rocks of the river.
Trust is precious in a relationship and sometimes it can be a question about life and death, as it is for the father and son, that rebuilds a broken relationship.