Christina Askounis: “The Novice”

From the Fall 2005 issue of Image, this restrained, lyrical story traces the bittersweet spiritual awakening of a middle-aged bachelor whose adopted daughter has decided to join a convent:

IT WAS Catherine’s last night. Lawson suggested they have dinner at her favorite restaurant, a resolutely untrendy bistro where the aged waiters knew them both by name. “Since it’s your last night,” he’d said, conscious of the theatrical cast the words seemed to give the evening. Still, it was no more than the truth. Catherine, who tonight looked so lovely, so finished in her black sleeveless dress—Catherine was leaving him. Not the right way to put it, of course. But ever since that long-ago afternoon when she had been eleven and he twenty-eight—only twenty eight!—scarcely older than she was now—he had felt she did belong to him in a way, that they belonged to each other, and now she was going, never to return.

Read the whole story here.

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