This story takes place years ago when every person was born with geographical destiny printed onto their skin—usually the bottom of the foot, sometimes a thigh or the back of the calf. If the words weren't clear—too faint, improperly formed, or with crucial letters missing—a family waited with great eagerness, checking the bottom of the foot (or the thigh or the back of the calf) every day to see what had emerged, the way one might peer into the murky bloom of a Polaroid. And although some believed a newborn's geographical destiny shouldn't matter, since it might be years before the child went off to meet it, in fact, to many people it did matter; so that parents whose geographical destiny was, for instance, Kansas City found it difficult to love without reproach a child born with the word Albuquerque across its knee.
When you go off to Albuquerque, they'd say, then you can have a skateboard. Or, Your father and I want a house, but we've got to save our money for phone bills and airfares. Oh, what do you care, soon you'll be running off to Albuquerque.