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Louise Erdrich

“Other freshmen were already moving into their dormitory rooms when we arrived, with their parents helping haul. I saw boxes of paperbacks, stereo equipment, Dylan albums and varnished acoustic guitars, home-knitted afghans, none as brilliant as mine, Janis posters, Bowie posters, Day-Glo bedsheets, hacky sacks, stuffed bears. But as we carried my trunk up two flights of stairs terror invaded me. Although I was studying French because I dreamed of going to Paris, I actually dreaded leaving home, and in the end my parents did not want me to leave, either. But this is how children are sacrificed into their futures: I had to go, and here I was. We walked back down the stairs. I was too numb to cry, but I watched my mother and father as they stood beside the car and waved. That moment is a still image; I can call it up as if it were a photograph. My father, so thin and athletic, looked almost frail with shock, while my mother, whose beauty was still remarkable, and who was known on the reservation for her silence and reserve, had left off her characteristic gravity. Her face and my father's were naked with love. It wasn't something thatwe talked about—love. But they allowed me this one clear look at it. It blazed from them. And then they left.”


Louise Erdrich
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