Volume 24, Number 4

Where I’m Going

my mother tells me she just finished giving a lecture on dark matter to a crowd of her scientist friends, and I worry because she has no scientist friends, she’s not a scientist. She waves the paper she’s written excitedly in the air, says her scientist friends were very interested in her revelations on the mysteries of the universe, but she won’t let me read what she’s written. Further exploration of the subject reveals that she and her friends meet regularly to present papers, dissect the cosmos and the supernatural in each other’s living rooms, finish the presentations with coffee and muffins, sometimes a little pot.

I hear myself talk to my children and I wonder if they listen to me with the same bemused grain of salt that I do when I hear my mother explain with great authority how all religions were inspired by mushroom trips how dark matter is nothing but the expansion of space between molecular particles or when she reveals her cellular memories of being burned at the stake. She sends me emails directing me to Internet sites that confirm her various theories, triumphantly exclaiming, “I guess I’m not crazy after all!” there are a million things I could say to her but in the end I can only nod my head, kick myself for my unwillingness to crush her faith.

—Holly Day