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?”

Waves

I glanced and felt the anger, resentment, the suspicions rising and the change in this “study group” . I had been around them, I had lunch and classes with many of them. Sam, Sherriel, Ginger are my friends, I liked them and they liked me. But this?!
I caught the Parliamentarian picking up the paper ball from the floor and shoving it into his pocket. The pain was engraved in his expression as he watched the dissolution of order. He walked away like an old seaman who was worn and tired from too many times on unstable decks.
” I don’t get it! Maybe because I am new and from the fringe.”
I frowned and was soaked in the fear, resentment and confusion. I was so far on the outside.( although Joy told me I was too far IN the padding). I looked around at the people packing up and Diamond trying to disappear into the folds of the couch.
” What is going on? Not just in the History study discussion group.! BUT HERE FOR DAYS.” I asked The black gentleman, Diamond and turning asked Sam, Sam was looking down the hallway. ” I CAN’T SEE WHAT THE –?” I couldn’t even figure out WHAT to call IT. My exasperation showed as I raised up on the stool beside the couch, so I could see the people walking behind me.
The black gentleman sat down and leaned forward, his elbows digging into the top of his knees. He still looked morose and his voice was husky. People sat down and settled in close to each other , to listen .
” Recent –history is here – its effect is showing through all of us, even if we don’t see it. We have pain, anger, resentment, frustration and possessiveness. When it becomes my village’s freedom to choose and your villages’ freedoms, everything becomes suspicious and questionable. Protection and fear overshadowing all the NEEDS . We don’t even talk or research in joint ways. The Government.” He glanced over at Diamond ” Governments’ officers can’t or won’t talk to people . They try-”
Diamond piped in to interrupt, his voice squeaking . ” too selfish, too dark, too concerned with making work for itself! The merchants charge anything and leave us all hanging and in need. None of us have enough to pay them!” His knees bouncing, casting lights that wriggle over the tabletop. One of the girls whispered in his ear and gave him a smile and a peck. He smirked and leaned back, tossing a wadded up ball of string?
The black gentlemen chuckled and caught the string ball.

nothing worst than waiting

The black gentleman put his hand on Ginger’s arm. She closed her eyes , opening them . He was staring at her with his eyes watering. He blinked.
” We are waiting, not for long. It has been a hard road.” He whispered. She glanced down at the table with the bowl of brightly colored round spots.

” Come on, ” Trevor said and jostled the black gentleman. ” They re not worth it.” She stood in front and shook her head purposely.
” We can get no where and problems rebound if we talk past each other. ”
Oliver, the stouter of the two, towered over her. ” Reserves are NOT rebounding. ”
One of the students from behind the couch sneered. ” let them go , they don’t want to change.” Another grabbed Olivers’ coat and twisted him around. ” Yes, they are!! They are sprouting and the water is clearer. We are–” ” Yesta, Darn! But there IS NO PROOF!! of anything believable!. Has there been any farm shows? any Orchard trains.? This is just a power grab and lies!!” Trevor jerked Oliver away.
Ginger’s shoulders sank . She licked her dark, tan chapped lips . Looking over all the people and the threatening faces , tightening grasps and shoulders framing their ears, she stated.
” I know everything has been tight. I know that some villages have more of — things than others. She frowned and looked straight ahead at the bowl of plum apples and orange tinted bananas. There was the proof, the brightly colored and plentiful spots. Still, there were not enough for everyone here. She would just wait. How long would everyone wait?

A slice of Peace attempted

Ginger lady ignore the ball by her foot and smiled at me. She stood.
Parlimentarian interrupted. “She has to be recognized.” His eyebrows raised, his auburn skin darkening. ( it was rather fascinating, to watch).
I cleared my throat. ” “Look, nobody else has waited to be recognized”. I warbled. Anger cracking my voice. ‘ he was really getting on my nerves,’- I thought.
Sam put out his hand and stood. He was looking at me with a slight shake and a pointed crease between his dark eyes, so unreadable, and the eyebrows so pointed, a whole lecture in themselves.

Everyone looked at Sam, who held up his hands and then lowered them down to his sides. Ginger nodded ” Thank you.” She surveyed all of us, especially those who were talking among themselves.
” This! – she spread her fingers wide and shook her head . Drawing in a breath, she blew out slowly, The ginger girl bit her upper lip and started saying ” We are all in joint rooms and we are not talking still. !” The diamond guy sat back and so did the girls. His girls? The others on the green bench turned and talked to each other.
Ginger tried again. ” We all come from areas of our own voice and ways . That is important but we have to not condemn others or ourselves– ” She folded her arms around her back, and met the eyes of the guys sitting in the brown leather side chairs.
A guy in black and white vest, jacket and grey pants leaned forward and drowned her out. His face and hands were light cream with red patches. He reminded me of a panda. I couldn’t help cracking a half smile. .even though I bit the inside of my mouth to stop it.
The Panda said even louder. ” We all know what you are doing?” He blew his nose into a napkin and squeezed his reddened nose . ” Poor, pititful us, life is hard! We have so much difficulties.” He spread his fingers wide and shook his head. “So unfair, for others to have a lot and we are so-o struggling .” He raised up his hands and twisted .”So therefore, Giver, Giver, and givest more- you have it and we want more.” He blew his nose into a napkin and smirk. ” that is why you, all of you, are here ” WE work ! don’t want to make hard, yourselves.”
Ginger rocked on her heels . She had heard it before and for years. Coughing and shuffling of papers from the chairs and people propped up against the couches caught her attention. ‘ We are trying hard to get together.’ “Don’t blow it now.” she murmured and the nearest guys looked at her. Fear?

dizzy ball

The black guy stood up and caught the ball as it was wafting down. The small parachute fit over the finger tips of his hand. Straightening his shoulders, he sat down and smoothed the ball back into shape. I arched an eyebrow, curious that somehow I had again insulted the process. ‘ Process?’
He stared down at the ball, the ink has smeared and created green strips across the middle, more or less.
“We are a group of people all here to get information to take back to our groups, so that we can better survive within our groups. ” He stated clearly as if he was stating a thesis or a proclamation. ” But, here we are disagreeing over opinions. Opinions that are important but not necessary to whether we get to arrive back to our rooms, tonight.” he looked up and across to the dogmatic guy. ” you like things to flow and follow certain guidelines, I like to as well. Guidelines–”
The diamond guy with his sleeves flaying around, butted in.
” that’s great, Guidelines that make some villages filled with resources while there are those of us that work hard and still have nothing, ” he stopped and coughed in his sleeve. ” not even respect from our own citizens. Easy for you to say, you got help!” He spread his winged sleeves out and graciously sat. I got the opinion that while he enjoyed his speaking role, he was very deeply firm in his ideas. The black gentleman paused and rubbed his arm. I don’t even think he was aware of it.
I cocked my head at Diamond Jim,’ he didn’t sound any different’, however he was pleased that he had interrupted and brought attention back to him.

Narrowing my eyes, turning my head and looking up, I reached out my hand to the black gentleman.
He shook his head and fiddled with the creases in the ball.
” a great many people have had an unusually difficult year. Playing a ball-for-bat comparison doesn’t bring them back or change the problems we had to solve to stop it in the road? We know what has been done before. we know what should have been done . Neither is going to clean up anything or bring our homes back from some guys that have never been exposed to hunger, fear or pain. “
He reached out his hand to a little pale girl next to him. He handed her the ball which she shook her head and pushed it away.
“Groups have met for millenia, some times good, sometimes bad. sometimes in a large group, sometimes- he stopped and closed his hand around the ball, scanning the circle.
He tossed the ball to me, while saying, ” groups get together to decide on agreements on anything.” I caught the ball and said, picking up on his thread of thought. “Groups who needed to sell or trade for their food or help to fight their fights ( when disease happens and security was at its weakest) . Several groups living on the same land, need to decide where their children can roam or what they’re allowed to do on someone’s else’s land. It can be difficult , even if ” I pulled a long piece of bang away from my mouth. ” even if the resources are plentiful or not easy to find.? ” I dropped the ball in the most quiet girl’s lap.

The girl with the cup cradled between her hands, never looked up.
” Groups cannot always travel at the wisp of a girl.” Balmoral smiled. She sipped her drink and look up. ” nothing says that the wisp of a girl can’t travel herself. ” She tossed the ball in the air, which earned another frown from the Parliamentarian person-guy. ” Groups had to be able to talk and LISTEN to each other or we will have NOT LEARNED ANYTHING! Groups MUST HAVE SOMEONE THAT CAN TALK FOR THEM IN A GATHERING!” The ball was inches away from me, perched on the edge of the table, I caught it and tossed it to the Ginger girl , her feet mere inches away from the table. ‘I wonder if she could catch it with her toes?’



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.