Things aren't too busy just now, there are only a few people sipping mochas and exchanging information. If you're interested in eavesdropping go check out one of the tables by clicking on the room plan above.
Right up front, this large round table is the perfect place for those who want to see everyone and everything and be seen doing it. Seeing and being seen right now are Dr. McGeorge Archibald, his second wife (and one-time Teaching Assistant), Karen (Cliff '73), his current TA (possessed of great T's and A!) Sunny Southern ('97), and Sunny's brilliant boyfriend Running Dog Levenstein ('98).
KARENHis family may drink Manischewitz instead of firewater, but that doesn't negate his Native American heritage. He may not have much Yangna blood, but it is the blood of a noble, ravaged race, blood because of which his great-great-great grandfather was slain. SUNNYHow did you know about that? (TURNING TO RUNNING DOG) You said that was a private intimacy between us. KARENIt was on his campaign posters when he ran for NASU president.
McGeorge is quite pleased with Karen's performance.
McGEORGEGod, you are good. I'd almost forgotten why I'd fallen in love with you in the first place... (TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE TABLE) Karen was the most brilliant student I ever had. Hers was, without question, the best Oral exam I ever gave... KARENOr got, dear. McGEORGEThat, too.
Well-satisfied with this endorsement, Karen turns to tell McGeorge something only to discover him studying Sunny's peach-hard, 20-year-old body. Karen's sense of well-being crumbles.
Lost in lustland, McGeorge responds only with an absent nod. Karen is not pleased.
Off to the side but with a great view of the room, frequented by those
who want to see before they're seen. Currently occupying this table are
Carlotta Schuyler Cliff ('42) and her fraternal twin grandchildren, Clifford
"Rad" Cliff VI and Carly ('99).
Grandmother and granddaughter exchange the looks of women well-accustomed
to being stymied by the denseness of their menfolk.
If this were a cartoon, darts would come out of Carly's eyes and smoke from her ears. As it is, her fury is all internal, but Carlotta feels it anyway, and not without a tinge of pleasure.
CARLOTTADon't tell me you're interested in the Atkins boy. His father is such an imbecile. And the boy's got fewer prospects than a blind plastic surgeon. CARLYFirst of all, there's nothing going on between me and Dylan. Second of all, he's a very talented actor. And third of all, it's none of your damned business, either one of you. CARLOTTAI beg to differ with you. Whomever you marry will be in a position to lay his filthy hands on your inheritance, and I'll be damned if I'm going to leave my hard-earned legacy to a money-grubbing dolt. So choose carefully, dear. Because if you marry a man who's unworthy, I'll cut you off without a single Cliff cent.
Way in the back, this is the spot for people who want the most possible privacy. Seated here now, all alone and not even trying to hide the fact that she is crying as she types something into her laptop computer, is Anais Grace. Karen has spotted her from across the room and now crosses over and sits beside the younger woman, watching the LEDs resolve into Anais's words.
Anais' fingers struggle to keep up with her thoughts as she types her response, but since we are in front of her, we cannot see what is on her screen.
KARENIt's supposed to be upsetting, Anais. That's part of the process. You're reaching within to unseat some very painful memories. You can't do that without reexperiencing the pain. Hopefully, it'll be easier to bear now than it was when you were just a child.
Anais fingers tapdance furiously across her keys.
KARENYou never had the dreams before because they're related to the internal work you're doing. This is a good sign. It means we're getting closer!
Anais looks up at Karen, her face still streaked with tears though her eyes have dried up. She smiles gently and nods her assent, then hugs Karen reassuringly. Now it is Karen's turn to cry.
KARENI know I'm not a therapist... at least not yet. But that doesn't mean our work together can't be therapeutic. You're getting so close. Please, don't give up now. I know you can do it if you just hang in there.