Recitatif, Toni Morrison

by Patti Abbott

This is Morrison’s only short story according to the site. Two eight year old girls meet when their mothers are unable to care for them and they are placed in an orphanage. One is black, one white. It is never completely clear which is which and perhaps that is the idea. They become friends and watch the older girls out in an orchard,. Race drives this story-the busing of the seventies in particular.
Over the years, they run into each other several times and try to reconstruct a specific incident at the orphanage but can never get it right. They are also unable to put race aside the way they did at eight.