Archive for July, 2012

What will happen when they stop building churches?

July 3, 2012

I visit my daughter in her life—2,000 miles away in a graduate school in Washington State. My daughter, beautiful, with her orange hair in braided knot. Making coffee, pleased that we liked her kabobs and witness her apartment with its rhythm of towels and spoons that belong only to her hands. She is here in her 400-dollar apartment with peach walls and sprung bed that leaves a crank in my neck. Pots of basil and thyme line her windows. Cans of beans stack her shelves. Banana, tangerines and plumbs in a bowl decorate her table. Hints of her childhood are all around us, the black and white Polaroid of my parents, a volume of Harry Potter, post-its from me stuck above her desk. After breakfast, we take a walk. The sky is achingly blue, not like Indiana sky pale as a last breath, or the diffuse yellow of St. Louis. The clouds radiate a reality of silver linings. Walking up the steep stairs of her university, my heart pounds. Makes me stop short. Pullman rises unspeakably beautiful, despite the town’s haphazard way. Sky, azure junipers and hills.

When my darling shows us her campus under a small arch, we joke about the St. Louis gateway. Walk up to a piece of modern art humming in the wind. Gaze out on the patchwork greens of Palouse Valley; a place I didn’t know existed until yesterday. Pass 4 graduate students giggling and vibrating together. 1 waves to my daughter, younger than a graduate student has a right to be. I don’t belong here, I have not walked behind these houses. I don’t know these people. Students belong to my past, and I am their past. The townspeople have strange garden flowers middling in their day lilies. On the way home, we walk past a church with turrets and a rose window. Some developers converted it to upscale apartments. There is a grill outside one of the steeple-shaped doors. My daughter is no longer my daughter. She is altogether a new religion.

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