You could see everything from up there, atop those 14 piles of books: my entire known universe bordered to the top by Mary herself, her veil trailing in gold, her hand giving a hint of the future and where I’d go. The fresh-cut or frosted football field–Father Sorin with his stole of snow–the old priests and the underclassmen hurrying in pairs through the pines, either from the heat or the cold and nothing in between. Everything important, in that old cross-shaped section of campus. Sacred. Every foot. And that was home.
While you were off advising presidents and fighting for civil rights, I was squatting by the two egg-shaped lakes named after two popular saints, feeding the ducks. Learning to walk. A yellow, waddling dot on the map, a pin in the battle plan. Two feet two. Sacred inches. And that was me.
Now I’m bigger and too long away. I long to be home in the grotto’s glow, with a candle lit for you in my hand. To sit in a pew and pretend I’m good. To try to pray when I don’t believe.
I want the chipmunks chattering along the gravel road across the street, past my first bedroom window. I want to hear my feet hit up and down on the grasses where I learned to run.