In my kitchen while preparing supper, my four-year-old daughter draws at the table, concentrating on the world she makes. Looking down, she asks, "Why is there just one day for everyday?"
The microwave beeps. I don't answer her. Instead, I'm transported to a Tibetan temple where monks perform a Sand Mandala around my feet. Contrasting sketched colors shaped in a circle outside square walls, waves and undertow, spires upon columns, I can no longer tell what "upside down" means. The monks pay me no attention. My feet immobile, I wonder about day's end when the Mandala is destroyed if I'll join it — my skin drying into sand that sprinkles flat on the floor.
I wait a long time but instead of falling, the Mandala raises its flat geometry into rooms and furniture. I can no longer see the monks but don't feel alone.
I see my daughter sitting at the table. Now looking up, her ponytail is coming undone. She looks at me and past me — unfocused eyes, green waters of sea fronds. She's talking but I can't hear her words.
I blink again.
As I feared, the Mandala avalanches below me. I'm pulled with it as it scatters into granules. Each grain demands why.
I blink a final time.
"Daddy," my daughter says to me, "Are you making good choices?" She pauses to fill in a corner of her drawing. "My teacher tells Donny each day at snack he needs to make good choices." She looks down and continues her drawing, unfazed.
My stomach growls, and I find myself saying, "Sometimes, I do."
13 July 2013