Mark Phillips | October 21, 2014 | Notre Dame Magazine
Since someday a medical test could discover within you the thing long feared, the doctor’s office might be a good setting for the beginning of this story. Yet this story has insisted on beginning weeks earlier when my wife and I were traveling to her maternal family reunion and I recalled flowers we had seen decades before that. We were in dairy country, the Herefords lying beneath thick clouds, and after passing several barns of almost black hemlock that made brilliant the white farmhouses against the gnawed timothy and heaps of dung and raggedly wooded hills, I pictured the enormous field of sunflowers we passed on a journey decades earlier, all those golden-laced bonnets, heads bowed in prayer over a table that ended where it met blue sky. As I recalled the flowers, I suddenly supposed the cause of Margaret’s mysterious illness.
“Something’s wrong. You look upset. What is it?”
“Nothing,” I said. “Nothing’s wrong.”