Limbo

Following Lunch on the patio, red lettuce with a creamy sweet mousse and a crunchy root( like a purple carrot) , Marie twirled her spoon in the glass. She had been thoughtful and distant, her dark,and pale waves catching the light making it hard to tell her hair color.

I dabbed at the chocolate crumbs on my plate, so yummy. I don’t know what you call it but it was just like the chocolate dream layered dessert my Mom used to make . So GOOD!! I drank some juice and folded my napkin. I am never sure where you put the napkin when you’re finished with it. I held it in my hand and then crumbled it up on top of my plate.

Marie dropped her spoon onto of her plate, shocking me into a jump, bumping my knee and almost knocking the flower vase over. Marie grabbed for the vase,righted it and carefully looked at the leaves of the two stems in the vase . She was shocked herself and I surmised that she was embarrassed at her manner,too. “Goodness, I was in a fog, !” Marie reached for her salad plate and began nibbling. She always interested me , because she also her salad last with her coffee. Oh well, I tended not to eat the salad at all. The sad expression was still in her eyes. I thought it was from the changing light of afternoon. ” I gather you know the -um – headmaster. ? ” I was nursing a carrot dipped in peanut butter.

“He is not a headmaster, heaven forbid the time when he is in charge. ” She raised her eyes skyward. There are people who like his style of leadership , I am NOT one of them. I have known him for years . He knows just enough to get by, She was stabbing at a piece of parnip and loading green tomatoes onto her fork. “some students and researchers really like his way of doing things”. She picked up her lunch plate and walked it over to the tray set up in the corner . She grinned ,her eyes shining . ” Ok, Joy and I have been talking and you need your own private room. She said that you have not gone exploring . Is this right? Regardless, of his Lordship, you are not going to get into trouble learning about the Council house. ” My eyes widened and started watering. I grabbed my hands in a tight squeeze. ” My own room?” The teardrops darkened the sleeve of my nightshirt. ” Well, I know you have your workroom , but you need a place to take a bath and store your stuff that is more secure than the garden sunroom. ” She was cheerful and her brow lifted puzzled.

, ” You need a place to get away from casual visitors, especially with all the meetings and research starting up in the season. She was looking at the door inside I picked up the rest of the dishes and walked over to the tray” but I am only here temporarily- I am going home soon. ” I was very cold, the afternoon was getting chillier. I started into my sanctuary- albeit temporary! Marie put her arm around my shoulder. ” We should have given you a room sooner. No one does well in Limbo! Not even those who are transistory in their crafts. Let’s get you settled and then I could need another viewpoint . You certainly can help for a bit, couldn’t you?” We sat on the bench against the wall ” So, do you like upstairs, dark room to sleep in or big, sunny and crowded.? We have both ,upstairs and down. ” I like dark to sleep in but I also like sunny ,comfortable uncrowded room. ” I smiled at the number of times that my sister and I argued over whose room was more cluttered and crowded AND WHO was going to be lectured first from Mom and Grandmother!

Lies in Limbo

The brown ,graying hair of the gentleman who came in was quite different from the “professor”. He was fairly tall ,with a thick folder of folders(?) tucked under his arm. The sleeve of the woven coat was folded around the folder, causing a tight vice around his elbow, making his hand red. He put down the briefcase with a loud bam on the edge table . ” What kind of ruckus or joke did you think you were pulling ? It’s hard enough keeping discipline and security without you disrupting the sessions. I don’t like the students here anyway! This is NOT a boarding school!! What Claire thought she was accomplishing by allowing access . It is STUPID!! ( at least I think that was what he was saying, I was having a lot of trouble with his accent. )

“What are you talking about? No one has been over in the conference hall , certainly not little bit and I . We have been HERE! ” Marie was standing just behind me and I couldn’t get to the couch. A room of my own sounded perfect now, with a thick deadbolt and strong hinges.!

” Cyrus is apologizing to everyone in the conference for his absence , because a council staffer stole his cat and was locking her away for being on the premises . He had to plea for her release, because she was accused of destroying property and the staff wanted to turn her over to Security for disposal! ” He came to the doorway and motioned for us to come in. I followed him into my room. His posture was tense and his demeanor was boiling , grounding him to blocking access to the interior of the room.
I looked at him and was angry! I could be just boiling and just as rooted in rug next to the sofa end table just inside the door. I have had enough . ” What? Who does He think He is ? The cat wander onto the patio and came in through the open patio door. She was just looking around . Mr. Cyrus came in and found her , I hadn’t restrained her or called anyone! ” Marie came in and stood with me. ” He was yelling at her about being in here. He was off on one of his power trips like he does when he is flustered by a student. ” Marie looked at the gentleman ” I thought Claire understood , that she was responsible for any trouble HE caused. ”

The folders were sliding and it was all I could do not to yank them away from him and put them on the table or couch or– To my relief, He dropped them on the “game” table and switched on the lamp. ” He has told everyone who would listen . There is going to be dissent and you are going to be asked a lot of questions. ” Marie slid down to the chair and grasped the table edge. ” She is our guest. This is our home. He doesn’t live here and he doesn’t want to have any responsibility except when he doesn’t like something.” The shadow crossed the far window and the room darkened. ” What can we do?”

Authority is worthless?

Suddenly , I was blinking and holding the paper ball in my hand . I stared at it up close. It was history notes. So that answered what the class thought about the history lectures. I gazed at the ball, rolling it over .
It was a sorting grid, with lines of dates and yellow stripes. I wove my brows together.
A bass line of coughing made me look up. Sam and Sandy were hacking into their hands and Sandy cocked her head. ” So what do you think? You have a different view of the war, being from the far off science bases. Did it hurt your town ?” I thought and didn’t know what to say. I had been warned enough about talking and not listening.! I slumped and looked sad. “Some!” I glanced down at the economic book under the table. ” We have some water and crop problems- chemicals got in . One neighborhood had to move. We are still working ” Wondering if these kids remembered the Love Canal contamination?
I tossed the ball up in the air and caught it.’ The dent made it easier to hold onto. Hmph, ‘I thought. ” Is there nobody in Authority that would do what you want to do if you have the resources, money and energy? ”
An unspoken guy in a green speckled suit looked at the loud colored clothes girls and smiled mischievously . “Authority is worthless. They only care about staying in office . Their lives are about getting selected!! That’s all!” The sparkles on his sleeves glimmered in the lamplight, as he pumped his arms towards the windows. There were many nodding bodies and “yes!” responses with fists in the air ” “The people who work hard to survive and pay them, we don’t matter! They don’t listen to anything we say. They just stay in their circles and buildings. “
The Ginger girl’s friend raised his voice, and his raised palm. “They brought us everything we needed to survive! The authorities brought food, water and everything for months! We didn’t have any money or any way to get supplies. The Councils sent medicine, help and experts! We wouldn’t be here without the councils’ support!” The black guy rolled up his loose khaki sleeve to show a bandaged bicep. I was rolling the ball, in a lopsided circle on the floor, while I was listening. Smiling, I rolled the ball towards him.
The wheaton terrier hair guy reached over and threw the ball high in the air. ” “That is what you DO when you want an answer !” His green eyes challenged me and he stepped away from the falling ball.

Catch and release

The girls on the couch leaned one way and another. One of the girls, with the loud clothes and the smoky eyes, from Approve day, caught it.
Her long, pink cotton candy blunt-tipped nails dug into the ball. The dented ball didn’t roll when she tossed it on the table.
” Nothing can be changed, so long as everyone is hurting someone else. You think that talking quietly will solve the discordances? Nothing will get completed, because we can’t get around our fear- their fear and anyone’s frustration, who decides to damage someone else! ” Her nails curled around her fist. She was spoiling for a fight- an old eye for an eye, my grandfather would say.
I frowned . ‘The war was so long ago–? Was this really about a history lesson? ‘ I wondered. There were gatherings all around the campus. I never thought anything about it. I just surmised that they were mutual study groups. Now, I wondered ,whether they were separate factions and the campus was anything but peaceful? Suddenly the ball was pitched!

Trusty Ball

There was a group sitting in padded chairs and sofas, in the gather area. I stood on the edge of the area. The guys were tossing a paper ball across the piled up coffee table, they looked like collapsed camels with their legs folded under them. Books and binders were taking up as much space as the people . Walking by,she noticed that there was a chestnut brown girl who was crying and writing as fast as she could.
Focusing on the discussion, she heard anger and energy bouncing as much as the paper ball was being tossed . Catching the ball, her friend, Sam glared around the group. ” they will SAY ANYTHING, anything to keep their influence! They are no different from the guys that expanded the war! ”
Sandy grabbled with the clasp on her binder. ” Some of the ideas ARE WORTH TALKING about!” She yanked on the binder. It yielded and she pulled a folder out. ” The forests are growing and the ground is less moist, Michael Lewis studied the crops, and found that the yield is ten times what it was in years past!”
A wheat colored hair, chunky guy tossed the ball in the air while he spoke. ” What is not discussed are the reasons why-? The science programs that are not disclosed. The money that has gone into the treasury and disappeared. What have they done with it? ” Another ball was thrown at the guy, the balls collided and dropped.
” What trust can be put in the facts reported,? What facts are actual and what is just cobbled together and put forth?” One of the guys who was munching on straws in his mouth, questioned.
The Ginger girl with her brown eyes blazing. ” Trust! what is that ? Facts! what are they?” They destroyed anything! They destroyed any chance at independence!”
The girl who had joined them for snacks the previous week and was always drawing while they all talked, put down her wired drawing book “Do you want to travel and make notes of the events and grounds yourself ? If we are all doing research alone, What then? Tell other people what you found out? THEN trust each other? Besides, being exhausted, and having lots of the same info, who is going to put actions into making the problems and matters straighten out? At some point the material is brought together and the issues are going to be highlighted. Do you think all of us have enough time to verify and do anything else?” She picked up the ball, colored on it, and then batted it.
The Ball went way up. Sam stood up and reached for it. ” After all the observations, and discussions – THEN?! Who can do the work? Each class, each research team? The group down in the courtyard? Nothing gets completed because we argue and point at the other people and they at other people, too “. Sam rolled the ball in his hands.” We have been divided for so long.” He cupped the ball with the palms of his hands . ” As long as we are divided and not listening nor working together,- THE POWER PEOPLE- who are making their way- the ONLY WAY, will be very happy. How much pain and hurt stands up and blocks everything!?” He pitched the ball and swatted it.

Back to School

He came in with a backpack across his shoulders. He was dressed in a red coat, light blue polo shirt and dark blue or green pants. I scratched the back of my neck My head felt stuffed and a headache was coming on. I wanted to go to my room and hide. Studying in the garden room had seemed like a good idea, I had a ton of papers and assignments to complete.
” never have I been so frustrated and irritated” . I sounded out my emotions.
I had been doing well, until he walked in with his smile and stuffed notebook under his arm. ” You probably have finished everything! ” My shoulders dropped and I slammed the notebook
. He held out his hand and helped me up. Going into the study and opening the door for me, he looked down at my not -so- organized coffee table. ” No, that is why I am here!” He dumped the backpack on the chair and sat on the end of the sofa. ” I can’t figure out why she said that the crops rotation didn’t figure into the economic forecasts. ?” His forehead knitted to gather, lines folding into the other. ” I thought she said that this area was an agricultural one. ” He pulled out a folder and shoved it onto my notebook. ” but there is NOT a SINGLE LINE ABOUT CROPS! in the Economic plan for this region. ”
” Well, alright, then I ‘ll just stop what I am doing–! ” I turned away from him,’ I needed his help and yelling would NOT be the way. ‘ I told myself. The books piled up on the floor by the table didn’t make it easy to get to the sofa. Torn notebooks and papers are laying in a scatter making a mine field of the carpet.
” That history timeline doesn’t make ANY sense. I have never ever heard about any of those places. Certainly,. not in my family!! ” I groaned.” I can’t find any information that makes it make sense.” I stabbed at a open book.
His hair was all spiky and tangled. He plowed down into the sofa. I frowned,’ he seemed SO UPSET! ‘ Why ? Economics?’ I thought.
” I haven’t gotten to the economics sheet, yet. I was trying to write the ‘ My first impression of college is.’.. I smirked . “How do I explain my first impression of college, when that was 2 degrees ago? Years ago. ”
He smiled, it smoothed out his face and made him seem more like a college boy. ” I think she is wondering what YOU think of THIS COLLEGE.
he patted my on my head. “at least that was what I did. I figured that I didn’t want her to know I had been to school before her class. ” I giggled, more because he was right and I had totally misread the intent of the assignment.

Tart disagreement

Sitting by him on the couch, I set the glasses of tea with the appropriate amount of ice. ” What I can’t understand is the History notes of the great war.? ” I reached for some chips. ” I mean, as wars go, it was pretty simple . It was 2 egos! Two cousins fighting over power and prestige.!!” I complained. My shoulders drew up to my ears. ” I was the only one who thought the cousins egos were the cause. Everyone else sneered at me.? ”
He sipped his tea and wrinkled his nose. ” that is TART. ” We had an earlier conversation about drink preferences. I said he needed to taste my southern ICED TEA with lemon.
I smiled prettily. ” the good stuff” and drank half of mine in a gulp.
” I agree, it was a power and prestige grab, with more and more issues melded into it. Every complaint grew all out of proportion.” He stated and leaned forward, putting his pads in his pack .
I nodded and closed my notes. ” Why did everyone disagree so much?”
” I still don’t understand why the places and the cities which HE says were the major battles I have never heard. The Places which are the well-known battles are not even LISTED in the books. Anywhere ! ”
” Remember, how I said that we are HERE TO LISTEN!. The Cities are important to them and is a description to HOW they see the causes and effects of the conflict on their mutual memory and emotions.
A lot of the students lost a whole lot and towns, countries were torn apart.” He frowned and took a chip, munching it .” The agriculture has never recovered and some areas are useless, at least for now. ” His demeanor lit up.”THAT is what I am interested in, the recovery process. ” He drank some more tea and added some honey, swirled it and downed it. ” I could get used to that . ” He nodded, smiled and walked out the patio door.

I answered the questions, keeping in mind, that I was trying to pass the course and that I HAD listened to the lecture. Smiling, I started putting up everything- then stopped . ‘I still had math and the back to school essay, to do.’ I thought. ” Why did the history accounts differ from my understanding , his understanding and the class’ understanding. They are so different! ‘” I mumbled. “Almost like we were not hearing about same event, even when the PHYSICAL facts are the same. “

Into the Lair

We entered the hallway with the ribbons draped across the windows. The Sun was bright and cast shadows over the tables set up in the hallway. People were moving, handling packs on shoulders, backs and in carts which they pushed in a wheelie dance in and out of the groups.
All kinds of people were lining up and standing around at side tables. Many didn’t look happy, and several were chugging on a sour looking green bottle. Girls with bright colors on their nails, packs and hair ribbons ,were chewing on their hair, nails or tassels of their packs. Colors that I had been searching and which were missing from the flower books, were here in the hallway. Everywhere around me was a canvas of colors , reminding me of the riot of clothes worn on 60’s day at work , a short time back. The air wasn’t cold, but the fur tufted sleeves and pants fashion didn’t show it. Smiling , I twisted sideways to let a “horsey set ” of kids mosey on.
” They are going to have to clean up before they go to class. Thesh bok.!” He looked angry and put offish. I straightened up and puzzled. ‘Thesh bok!’ I murmured. ” We certainly are from different parts of the country!” He didn’t smile or respond . I frowned and squeezing his hand, I smirked a half smile.
” What do ya mean, clean up? They look clean and colorful . ” His expression irritated me. Somehow, I felt like defending their rights. They weren’t prisoners in uniforms?- I stopped . maybe? there were some stringent uniform codes. I grimaced .
” I certainly am not dressed up anywhere nearly as much as some of the girls lined up across the hall.” I was shuffling through the packet I had been handed, when I walked in . I hadn’t read any of it, from the looks of the lines of students, I should have. Several groups juggled their books and walking past me, spun me around. My packet scattered like petals in a wind. I looked around and found myself the center of attention amidst many smiles ,several girls caught at the paper petals.
Tall, dark and mysterious stranger smiled at the girls and collected the papers without a sound. Tucking the papers into his own notebook. ” Come on , let’s go in here. ” He slid between tables and through an open door. I followed into a small carpeted room with the usual bulletin boards, table and chairs . The colors were a soft lavender and some greenish teal that were popular in several of the rooms in the manor. Dropping the notebook and his pack onto the chair, he pulled out some money and put it in a box on the table. Opening a cabinet , he took out some glasses and a bottle of green stuff. It still did not look appetizing. I curled my lips and nose, looking around, all I saw were some napkins in a basket: some slots with reams of paper, cabinet doors and small wire boxes with pens, scissors and stained rollers of rubber?

Tangled


” Approve day is chaos. ” He chuckled, “Everyone standing around usually not in the right place. ” He pulled an opener from the basket.
“Admin trying to sort out the students and the visitors. Instructors trying to see who is admitted into their compounds. Bickering over the type of people and the standards of who is to be here? ” He stared off at the wall behind me.
” Values are hard to agree on. Even Instructors, who agree on ideas, collide on principles. Values and ideas selections are hurtful and helpful. The reasons for – ?” He stopped ,threw his shoulders back and look over my shoulder ,that far away look again. “There are no clear, short or easy principles to decide ways. Wounds are deep even the new denial ones.”
” I’m sure that there are some critieria to balance needs and fairness. ” I wetted my lips and,staring at a poster of rules above the supplies on the wall. I pondered and felt my ID badge. ‘ I had not had to stop at any lines, I didn’t have to answer any questions or do anything. There were many students with backpacks and demeanor who look far more like they belong than I did. ‘ I looked around a “teachers’ lounge” obviously, off limits to any of the people outside the door. Shoving the green bottle across the table, he smiled -a full smile at me. ” You look thirsty, AND YES Marie arranged everything for both of us. Yes, we are ready for class and do not have to stay in any of the lines.” I smiled and licked my lips. Maybe it didn’t taste as bad as it looked. I leaned forward and grabbed the bottle.
” We are here to listen! We are here to memorize what is given to us. We are not to tell them where they are wrong! ” He caught my hands and his voice lowered ,quietly. “How you are treated and how you survive out among the people will depend on you adopting whatever background you are given here. ” He squeezed, adding emphasis to his stern voice. ” I know what my background is , I am good with history and science. I am not DUMB.!” Pulling loose, I lifted the bottle and took a long swig of the green slime stuff. Swallowing and shivering , “How can ya’ll drink that stuff?? I wiped my mouth out with my sleeve.

Garden Fill

I was on the couch ,wrapped up in a small shoulder wrap I had found in a closet. The Oatmeal colored wrap was warm and light, I shivered under the knitted lacy trim. ‘There was a nip in the air, enough to cool down my room, my office ,I guess. I didn’t have work to do but? ‘ The book that I had pulled out of the library was balanced on the pillow. I had the sketches laid out on the coffee table. We were meeting for lunch, and were discussing the Ankh garden, I guess.
A lot of guessing this morning, more so than ordinary, I was getting bored and tired. Sighing, I wondered if Marie and Joy were going to speak to me anytime . I wanted the familiarity of visits from my “maiden” aunts. I wanted the safety of last week, if I couldn’t be home. Wiping my tears and shaking my hair, I wanted to go home, even if it meant being ostracized . Even if my sister criticized my make-up, my haircut and my clothes, I looked down at my purple and white top and pants. They fit well AND it was so comfortable to have different clothes, for going out. I straightened the sleeves so that the ink stains didn’t show from the front, at least.
The pictures of the plants looked pretty but too small and dark.! I flipped through the book. ‘ Where are the Tiger day lilies and the Black eyed Susans or the White daisies ?’ I wondered. I wanted to put a brilliant rainbow in the ground. I had spent an hour looking for some bright colored flowers or trees to plant in the sunny outward long straight leg of the design. ” I must not know where to look. I just want some cheerful and familiar colors.” I muttered to myself. Stretching all the way to the side, I bounced up, as the blue pants and the black striped orange jacket righted itself in my field of vision. He had a box in his hands and his shoulders bounced in a shrug.

“A garden is a place to enjoy and share. Its’ lay out and the plants chosen tell stories and give lectures on the importance and need of being with the other parts of the physical world, a separate place that lives without the mechanizations of humans.” I picked up my carefully laid out public spaces with the paths and cubbyhole benches, that was partly maze and partly home. ‘There was a place called Daughtrey Gardens . It was my favorite place to go and wander around. I’d walk there wondering how the gardeners could do such a masterful job.” He was staring out the window , like a lab partner who didn’t realized how hard the job was going to be.
I sipped my water and sighed. ‘The plans would go in my memory box upstairs.’ I decided ,wrapping my finger around the corners. ” I had just noticed that the flowers in my plans were how the beds in front of the Daughtrey gardens were planted. The exception being that those plants were labeled in botanical jargon. If they weren’t going to be used, then I could mess around with them and maybe plant some anyway. ? ‘ I looked down at the cookies . “They aren’t the Gardens bakery cookies ” . I shoved them away.
He squeezed my hand. ” Master of plants, since you are so curious about your environment. I dig some digging of my own. ” He handed me a card with a picture of the commons sketched into it. He smiled that crooked , slanted smile. ” We are going into the lair of learning. ” When I frowned, he laughed. ” a saying from my part of the country Get some shoes on and let’s go to some lectures.
I blinked . ” We are going back to School as in across to the other buildings?”