For two glorious days I had been following my windshield into autumn. I was traveling whatever roads looked like they would take me to a beautiful day beside beautiful lakes in south and central Wisconsin.
He wasn’t supposed to look. When U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander John Hiltz ’02 roared over Notre Dame Stadium in his F/A-18 Hornet before the November 2, 2013, Notre Dame-Navy game, he may have had the most enviable view of campus on a football Saturday.
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.
Perhaps there is something you could do before reading this.
On my last day in Kakuma Refugee Camp, a scorcher in late May, I climb on the back of a boda-boda — the camp’s cheap, impromptu motorcycle taxis — for a ride out to the farthest frontier of the camp, an area called Kakuma Four. At my side is Ed Grode ’71M.A., a retired school principal from Fairview, Pennsylvania, and president of the state’s Notre Dame Club of Erie, who is deeply engaged on refugee issues and working on a documentary about life in the camp.
When I first started teaching more than 20 years ago, I fantasized about being “the one” — the teacher kids adored, trusted and would reference in their Nobel Prize acceptance speeches. In the short term, I imagined them calling me when arrested for childish pranks like TP-ing houses or skateboarding illegally. Wearing a red-sequined, super-teacher cape, I would pick them up at the police station at midnight and drive them home to the embrace of grateful parents.
There was a period of time when I lived in Texas. There was a period of time from age 22 to 23 when I could muster the strength only to dress the part. There was a period of time when salvation lay in closing the blinds. It was my first job out of college, and I had moved far away from anywhere that seemed like home.
Dominique came to the internal medicine clinic desperately searching for help. The tumor had burst through the skin on his left shoulder, leaving an open wound. The wound had started to leak and had a distinct smell that indicated an infection.