Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig
Excerpt from Chapter 9:
In Portland, I had a home away from home. Its fireplace
was every excuse to build a fire; it was rainy outside. A fire
meant tea, a book, silence. I enjoyed the more personal, natural
lifestyle of this city. In my mind, it made my parents’ type
of “San Francisco sophistication” seem superficial. I wondered
if I would ever return to understand it. The attitude was
at least willing to wait for me in the race of time. Part of me
grew up too slowly, while part of me still could not wait my
I watched the garden, swollen figs close to the kitchen
window. My trick with Brad was over. I daydreamed, welcomed
the rain’s persistence.
My new housemate, Penelope, an English major, sat snug
in a living room chair, read a book. I envied her contentedness.
Blond with curly hair, angelic milk-white skin contrasted
her studious light-rimmed glasses. A stolen, frayed dorm
couch filled one wall, my floor-bound mattress, the other. Too
shy to talk, I stayed in my place, counted the window’s raindrops.
Unfinished art history books lay scattered on the
breakfast table. I picked up Penelope’s Campus Bulletin. A dogeared
page caught my eye: The “Round-Up Column.”