Too Far Away to Touch

by Chanpheng Lew

Laurie was adamant. "When I get big, I'm going there," and she pointed to the red jewel in the sky with her little hand, her fingers just starting to lengthen out of the layers of baby fat. Although her daughter was talking about Mars, which was just featured on a TV special, Barbara was thinking how the child dances in unexplored regions every day. "It's very far away," she said gently, thinking about college, graduate school, marriage; all of which could fry away in an explosion on the launch pad. "And it's very dangerous." She saw the longing on Laurie's face and imagined how the expression would mature over the years, the same way her hand has started to turn into an adult hand.


Chanpheng Lew is an aid worker in Southeast Asia, where she has lived for half of her adult life. When she is not working, she studies languages, goes to Buddhist ceremonies and provides opportunities for her neighbors to study her.