To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year 2, Part 8: Post 2: Explanation

So, this entry is odd. I'm writing as Daniel-of-2014 again.

As I've said, I spent Christmas of 2001 at my parents' house and did not return to campus again until the week before Brigid. So if I kept on posting weekly as if I were myself from thirteen years ago, you'd get a series of five or six posts about my parents and that isn't really the point.

Instead of doing that, I plan to do several entries speaking in my own voice, cleaning up some odds and ends and adding in some extra information that you may find interesting. A lot of this won't be narrative, but I can also add in some stories that I didn't have room for before.

For example, when I first arrived--early in February, 2000, one of the first people I started to make friends with was Nora. I remembered her from seeing her in the office before either of us enrolled, I was curious about her, and while she was still high school age and I wasn't, we were both teenagers. So, maybe two or three days after we'd enrolled, Nora and I were walking through the Office trying to find the Computer Lab for a workshop we wanted to attend there. The Great Hall has a lot of doors opening off of it, and we'd gone through the wrong one again. And we came face to face with Allen.

I didn't know who he was, yet--of course I'd seen him at the ceremony at Brigit, but the light in the Chapel had been dim and I didn't have a clear memory of anyone's face, except Kit's. I could see he was a professor--Ollie had told me they were called masters--because he wore a brown uniform with a brown belt. We students wore white. What I couldn't see was why he seemed shocked to encounter us, or, more particularly, Nora. He was staring at her.

"Hi, Dr. ____," she said, addressing him by last name, with a giggle and a cutesy little wave.

"Hello, Nora," he answered, seeming uncomfortable.

"You know each other?" I asked, surprised.

"Sure--Dr.____'s my therapist," Nora said.

"You said it. It wasn't mine to disclose," he said. "Will you introduce me to your friend?"

That meant me. Nora introduced us.

"So, you're both new students?" he asked conversationally.

We nodded. He didn't remark on Nora's age. He did ask whether she'd known he worked here.

"Sure," she told him. "I followed you here."

"You what?"

"Yeah. I saw you on your bike when I was out with my Mom. We saw you turn in here--so I checked it out."

He smiled and shook his head.

"Welcome," he told us. "I go by Allen, here." Then he turned, a little nervously, towards Nora. "You know I can't be your therapist and your college professor at the same time?"

"You can't?" I saw the color drain from her face, her smile fade.

"You can still talk to me, Nora," he reassured her. "Your mother can't pay me enough to hang out with someone if I don't really want to."

"So, what's the difference?"

"You don't have to make an appointment and I don't have to tell your mother how you're doing."

"Well, that's fine, then!" exclaimed Nora, smiling again.

So, when I was writing about that part of the story, I didn't have space for that sequence--there was a lot of other material I had to cover in order to explain how the school worked to the reader. But that one sentence--"your mother can't pay me enough to hang out with someone if I don't really want to"--shows something important about Allen--that he is always exactly himself.

If you go to Allen for therapy or have him as an instructor, or go to one of his magic shows, you're not interacting with a therapist, a college professor, a professional magician; you're interacting with Allen. It's not that he never changes his behavior as he switches roles, but when he ceased being Nora's therapist, their prior history together didn't evaporate. He was still the adult she had trusted with her secrets.

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