Today at The Aquarium of the Pacific I saw a
child’s face with the look of perceptive age, of
worry beyond her years as if she understood
war, and life expectancy, and defeat.

She brought back the memory of being with
my middle children stuck in a restaurant when
the old Fiat died on the way to Springville, and
the waitress told me our dinner had been paid

for by a big rig driver who had already left. I
understood he must have seen the joy I got
from the girls in spite of car trouble. He must
have longed for his own children seeing mine

making a good time out of a mishap. And in
the child-filled aquarium today, humbled by the
compelling beauty and variety of sea life, I was
subdued by Sue’s sweet successes with babies.

My ancient personage, too late to be the father
in her mothering, closer to death than child-
bearing years, I am swamped with her loss
even though she denies interest. How can

one so connected to the little ones have no
interest? No, it is the span of years between
us from which there is no escape, and the gentle
lady must make do with her earlier choice.