I held the birthday box Susan handed to me. She turned toward the kitchen counter, wearing fan-legged red shorts, her back to me, now two inches taller than my five feet, two inches. Suddenly, the present seemed out of place in time. I thought, It's as though she's a butterfly about to flutter away. Why can't I hold on to her?
I stretched on my toes and kissed the side of her face. ... Susan left the kitchen to change clothes. She and Robin and some friends were going to hear a concert and speaker that night. I stood in one spot, pondering that feeling as though a clock of separation were ticking: a clock that had begun a month earlier in St. Augustine. Susan herself had initiated spending the time with her parents. All that day, I wanted to reach out, touch, and embrace her in answer to a strong and un-vague impulse-an impulse that I was losing my daughter and there was nothing I could do about it.