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!
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 anddo 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.
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?”
Still not knowing anything about him, except that he was apparently a friend of Joy’s, he laid out some bills. I have never seen such crumpled , dirty and stained bills. I licked my lips wishing that I could get my tea from the other side of the room. “So, let’s see.” He gathered some coins from the pile and handed them to me. “Put the coinshe in number order. ” I placed the large ones first and proceeded down to the smallest. He smiled and jotted down a note in a notebook. ” Place the coinshe in a set of similars. ” I fingered the small, silver coins and then the different coins. I didn’t seem to have any pennies. There seemed to be nickels, dimes, half dollars and dollars coins. I fingered the edges of the coins, I didn’t see any names or numbers on the coins. I put the coins in groups by size and the large coins with the bills. Joy’s friend , Mr. test administrator, was looking across the room at the hallway entrance. ” This shouldn’t take too long.? I want enough coinage to buy coffee and a pie.” He looked down at my medium coins and the bill I had put out. I didn’t have pennies or quarters, unsure of my choice, I pulled the bill back. I looked at the money on the table. I picked up 2 large coins, remembering that Marie had given the food truck vendor two such coins. I put two out and then withdrew one, just like she had done. It didn’t seem right. I have no more idea how much the price was for coffee and pie than I had for lunch. I put out 3 coins and 7 smaller ones. He seemed puzzled and he picked up the two large coins from the pile and placed them on a blank card. In a teacher’s voice as smooth as silk and cold as ice, he asked . “Lunch is 37 coinshe . How much are you going to give me? ” How to do 37? when I have no pennies. I puzzled and my hand scratched the back of my neck,, I stretched my neck and caught sight of the pillow in the desk chair.propped up against the drawers. The inner math voice said’ No use stalling, I was just guessing anyway.’ I measured out three of the rough edged medium ones and a large one ( hoping that I had put out 3 dimes, a nickel) It was the best I could do. I sat up, from the slump and knew as soon as he looked down, I was wrong. He spread the money out in rows and boxes. I stared at the notes, he had laid down.
” Marie’s girl doesn’t know number identification, having difficulty with basic coinshe joining and subtracting. Don’t know how intelligent she is. Education is minimal, like all education in the outer areas. What does Marie expect? ” I looked up at him, in his gray suit and purple scarf. He met my gaze. ” I don’t know where you lived or what is acceptable for your area, but you have a lot of work to learn if you are going to do anything here!” He glanced at his watch and then at the door. I cocked my eyebrow( involuntarily response) , my teeth locked together. ” What are you talking about? What is this? You certainly are not tutoring me.” I poked at the paper and mixed up his boxes .” I have never claimed to be great at Arithmetic , but I do quite well out on my own.” I stood up and met his dark face. His sharp creases in his jacket and pants, the folded down cuffs on his pale blue sleeves, he reeked of upper class snobbery . My eyebrows closed together and my voice was just cold and crisp. ” You may think that you and your kind are the smartest, well dressed, most endowed and entitled Blue bloods in the world.” I shook my hand, ” My part of the world is just as smart, kinder and just as good as any of you. We have ideals and we know what is important and how EVERYONE deserves chances to be equal to ANYONE else. ” I drew in a deep breath, what my friends call getting my irish temper up. ” We don’t believe that the notion of superiority is breed into us, like you blue blood high society snobs!” I drew another breathe, standing squared off for the blowback . His eyes were wide open and his eyebrows were lifted, he drew back and his lips were so tight that you could see his teeth grinding. Marie and Joy walked in behind him. Marie picked up the paper on the table. Joy’s expression was pure anger and boiling . Glaring at me, she put her arm around her friend and squeezed him. He looked down at Joy, his voice scared sounding. ” She called me a – a Blue Blood! What right has she to say that!” ” I know, you were trying to help her. I don’t know !” Joy tilted her head at Marie and tears filled her eyes. Marie picked up the coins and put them in stacks before moving them to one side of the table. She looked exhausted and sad. Picking up my hand and slipping her arm around my waist. ” Why would you say ? What happened ? ”