Cook’s tour

Tom’s father parallel-parked the car on a side street, turned off the engine, glanced at his mother (who was sitting in the front passenger seat), and got out of the car. His mother unfastened her own seatbelt, glanced in the rearview mirror at Tom, who caught her eye even as he tried to focus on gathering his things. Tom swung open his door and climbed out, stretching his long legs after the three-hour drive. He tied the soccer warmup jacket around his waist as his father rubbed his hands together expectantly.

“Okay,” his father said, clapping his hands together once, as if to fire the starting shot. “We have ninety minutes to see this place before I have to get back to the hotel for my next meeting.”

Tom’s mother linked her arm through his and when he didn’t immediately pull away, she smiled up at him. He was a full head taller than his mother and he found some kind of comfort in knowing what the part of her brown hair looked like. He was taller than his younger sisters, Emily and Elizabeth, who were tall enough, for girls who weren’t done growing, and he liked to think that he knew their mother best because he could see more of her than they could: he could take her all in. On the other hand, he was pretty certain that this Cook’s tour of this college campus wasn’t going to make a difference in his final decision-making process. What could he possibly learn about this place in less than two hours?

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