September 30, 2007

Paragon’s People (4 of 11)

Thread: Paragon

Crossing the Green Lawn was not the quickest way from dorm to the Second Building, but it was nicer than following the concreted route through the centre of the campus. Arts students seemed to have drawn the short straw in a way.

The university was originally a place for the arts, a college founded in the early 1900s by a few literary dreamers with too much spare cash but not a single published book to their names. The place couldn’t survive on the children of the upper class and their parents’ charitable contributions alone so, as sciences tended to attract a lot more investment – particularly as America descended into the atomic age – the college expanded its horizons. The later buildings, Eighth and beyond, had to be built beyond the original campus and now lay outside the ocean of green that was originally the campus boundary. Arts were hemmed in, trapped around the Hub.

The student envied the science gimp and his cohorts, walking everyday along fern-lined paths under the comforting shelter of a green canopy. He’d heard some of them complain that the route was muddy when the rains come around but, well, the grass is always greener on the other side.

He came upon his girlfriend on the periphery of the Lawn.

Perhaps he was still dosed up with remnants of Bliss but her clothes seemed to hug her body a little more, and was that a hint of cleavage? He took another look and clocked that it was all imagination; she was wearing just the usual, a staid, approved uniform for the modern student. So managed and planned. Nothing revealed. Pathetic, try again.

‘Oh, hi,’ she said, with a nervous smile. ‘I’ve been trying to call you, you know.’

‘Are you following me?’ he bellowed at her.

She recoiled as if hit. ‘What are you talking about? Don’t be like that, I was just going this way.’

‘You’re off to Fifth, I’m not an idiot. This is completely the wrong direction for you. Are you following me?’

‘I’m not following, don’t be so melo.’ She reached out to touch his arm as if it was the most natural thing to do, but he pulled away. Her face changed, exposing vulnerability, her skin now tired and sagging. The student realised: she’d been crying. ‘Why are you making a scene? Why-’

‘I told you I need space. Are you following me?’ He wanted to see if she’d cry again. Could he break down her control? Free her, just for a one fleeting moment?

She held still for a moment, battling her emotions. Her eyes wandered away, relaxed, and then came back. ‘Alright, I’m sorry, I was following you, but you wouldn’t answer my calls, you wouldn’t answer me and I called and I called but you-’

The student walked away, shouting behind him, ‘Leave me alone.’

‘We need to talk, please, we gotta talk about what’s going on here, I need to know.’

He stopped. Others continued to walk around them, carefully avoiding their poisonous bubble of reality yet taking the opportunity to observe troubled lovers fighting in public.

The student turned around to face his girlfriend and said, ‘Don’t ask me questions before I’m ready. You’ll get the wrong answers right now, because that’s all I have.’

She tensed, asking, ‘Are you seeing… someone else?’

‘Look, alright… lunch,’ he answered. ‘Meet me for lunch today and we’ll talk, over at Fifth Column.’ He could foresee himself suddenly becoming too busy to make the appointment.

He turned and left her again, heading deeper into the Lawn. She didn’t call out to him this time. The student was unsure whether this was because she had won a concession, or fearful that she had almost realised the worst-case scenario with her unanswered question. The scenario that she had hoped and prayed was not true.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2001

2 Responses to “Paragon’s People (4 of 11)”

  1. Jennifer wrote on 2-Oct-2007 @ 2132:

    Bad Student!!!

    Poor Girlfriend!! 🙂

    Lovely Bliss!!

    p.s it’s always that way with the Arts. My Uni survived on Science grants and sponsorships alone…

  2. Jennifer wrote on 2-Oct-2007 @ 2132:

    Bad Student!!!

    Poor Girlfriend!! 🙂

    Lovely Bliss!!

    p.s it’s always that way with the Arts. My Uni survived on Science grants and sponsorships alone…

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