Monday, August 27, 2012

The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker

"This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove. Our first flaws were emerging, but they were being corrected. Blurry vision could be fixed invisibly with the magic of contact lenses. Crooked teeth were pulled straight with braces. Spotty skin could be chemically cleared. Some girls were turning beautiful. A few boys were growing tall. I knew I still looked like a child."

"The only thing you have to do in this life is die," said Mrs. Pinsky. This was one of her favorite sayings. "Everything else is a choice."

We were a different kind of Christian, the quiet, reasonable kind, a breed embarassed by the mention of miracles.

Some of the stars you'll see out there  don't exist anymore," said my father, gently turning the knobs of the telescope with his thumb. The gears squeked softly. "Some of the stars you'll see have been dead for thousands of years already."
"What you'll see with the telescope are not the stars as they are today but how they were thousands of years ago....thats how far away they are; even the light takes centuries to reach us."
I liked the idea, how the past could be preserved, fossilized, in the stars. I want to think that somewhere on the other end of time, a hundred light-years from then, someone else, some distant future creature, might be looking back at a preserved image of me and my father at that very moment in my bedroom.

"I'd grown up hearing stories about the special hazards that girls faced. I knew where the bodies were found: naked on beaches or cut into pieces, parts frozen in freezers or buried in cement. These stories were never kept from us girls. Instead they were spread around like ghost stories, our parents hoping that fear would do the job that our judgement might not."

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