Divorce or broken families
In the short story “Crossing”, we meet a modern-day American who is struggling to figure out his new role after having broken up with the mother of his young son. We do not know whether the couple was married or not, but we do know that they used to share a house and be a family of three. Now the man feels like a visitor when picking up his son at the house he once used to live in himself, and he and his ex seem unable to look each other in the eye.
It is evident that the man is haunted by thoughts of past mistakes and “fuckups”, as he puts it, and we sense that it has become extremely important to him to always keep his promises. Particularly the ones made to his son because becoming a good father seems to be his main objective now. This is the main reason he decides to cross the river despite his initial doubts. The father makes this decision out of love for his son, but ironically it proves a fatal decision for both of them.
How the boy feels about his parents splitting up is not clear since he is a fairly anonymous character. But since he comes off as rather quiet, obedient and fragile, we may assume that he, too, is struggling to adjust to the new situation of being part of a broken family.
If we are to extract a message from this, it might be...