It’s night and I’ve wandered into a big space of glaring white fluorescence with number one daughter. She’s lugged her year-twelve art project here to be left alone with it. But I’m allowed, cause I’m the Dad, looking and wondering at this gigantic mobile of photos behind glass, held from the ceiling by fishing line. Hanging with it is a kind of interpretive shadow: the life-sized silhouette of a young woman, painted onto a see-through curtain.

My daughter talks to me for a bit, then, as if I’m not there, disappears into artist universe; tweaking and nuancing the bits of glass and fabric. Meanwhile, I’m trapped in that father’s wonder at his daughter-becoming-a-beautiful woman who’s already gliding—I suspect—through time and space into a world of infinite love while her creation wavers above a hard floor, which I can feel under my feet.

Finally, the assembling and dissembling is done and she’s gotten all the pieces hanging together. It’s a real thing now, mirroring what’s happening in her own young soul as she also becomes more real in the only way that anything does: via the fires of loving, cherishing, guarding, wrestling and the breaking-of-the-heart. And I’m so lucky to be here, flowing alongside her, with her, enjoying the music of a voice that speaks of hopes and dreams to be poured out in the only way they can.

And now, that voice walks across the room, hidden inside those mysterious hints of joy we call skin and bone, eyes and lips, laughter and jokes, stories and songs—all dancing around words. Thus, and so we talk, inside this temple of dazzling light, near a curtain of glass that dangles like bits of galaxy.

And now, that voice walks across the room and smiles at me and I’m sure a day will come when we both shall see and taste first-hand the joy and love we’ve tasted here, forever and ever.

‘Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.’
― J.R.R. Tolkien