by Chanpheng Lew
Laurie was adamant.
"When I get big, I'm going there," and she pointed to the red jewel in
the sky with her little hand, her fingers just starting to lengthen out
of the layers of baby fat. Although her daughter was talking about Mars,
which was just featured on a TV special, Barbara was thinking how the
child dances in unexplored regions every day. "It's very far away," she
said gently, thinking about college, graduate school, marriage; all of
which could fry away in an explosion on the launch pad. "And it's very
dangerous." She saw the longing on Laurie's face and imagined how the
expression would mature over the years, the same way her hand has
started to turn into an adult hand.
is an aid worker in Southeast Asia, where she has lived for half of her
adult life. When she is not working, she studies languages, goes to
Buddhist ceremonies and provides opportunities for her neighbors to