Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Aller guten Dinge sind drei. *

We hurry across the road that should be called Church Road, considering how many such edifices lay along it, but is actually called something else. It is the Styx that we traverse toward places that, although within a stone’s throw, make us feel we are off campus, a wonderful feeling sometimes. There are three of us, the exiles who roll their Rs, the Eastern Europeans. On the other side of the traffic cosmos we meet another trio, fellow students, whom we ignore. They do the same.

In the fluffy chairs at Starbucks bleak thoughts surge and envelop our nebulous minds. We realize how busy we’re kept in this “school,” that we don’t have time to think about gloomy realities. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s coffee that brings them back, blast it, this intoxicating harbinger. “When I was in the hospital this summer,” she says, and it’s not until I hear these words so simply stated that I feel fortunate, grateful for things I’ve taken for granted. What is a good body? A body that doesn’t hinder you from doing the things you want to do. If I am real good, will I be young forever? Will I, Santa?

Darkness is pervasive, now as present inside as outside. We tread through the thick night in quasi silence ruminating, glee somewhat amputated by too earnest a conversation. We chase gloom away with trifling topics that turn, invariably, into serious ones. We’ve gone rabid tonight. “They don’t tell me when they go out anymore,” she says blankly. “Last year it would have hurt me, but this year, this year I just want someone to talk to.” Just like that, a playback of a former version of myself, and I want to offer some reassurance that I never had then, some kind of promise that I know I won’t keep. What could I say? “I’ll come to visit.” That’s not true. “There’s Facebook.” And of what use is that? So instead of lying I admit the scarcity of her options, I steer her toward the only sane path I’ve found for myself: “There are always the profs, you know.” She knows. And on this final note we part. The last vestiges of Eastern Europe left in this prestigious institution, two almost alumnae and one halfway there, the most resilient, but I suspect also the loneliest, of all.

* (German) All good things come in threes.

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