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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Year 4: Part 5: Post 7: Interlude

Hi, Daniel-of-2016 here, and I'm going to do something unusual. This blog is due for an interlude, but because I skipped a week a while back, there's an "episode" I wanted to cover before Mabon that I haven't gotten to yet. Normally when this happens, I just post whatever it is after the holiday, with a note if necessary, but I don't want to do that this time because part of my holiday post depends on your having read this episode first. So, for the first time ever, I'm basically skipping an interlude. I don't have very much to say right now, anyway. We're all fine. Carly just started pre-school, three days a week. It's quiet around here without her. Note that  the following events occurred on a Thursday. -- D.

For the better part of four years I have occasionally daydreamed about doing violence to my teacher--as in "he wants me to do what? I'm gonna kill him!"

Today I actually came close.

After Healer's Health class, I went to lunch, like normal. The weather was nice and cool and mostly cloudy. I think it'll rain later. The trees are just starting to turn. I'd been planning to eat outside, but Eddie and Alien Steve saw me and called me over and I ended up eating with them. Afterwards, on my way out, Charlie ambushed me. He'd been waiting for me just outside the Dinning Hall. When I passed, he stepped out and asked me to walk with him. He had something to tell me.

Charlie had never acted like that with me before--he seemed very serious and uncomfortable. He wouldn't look me in the face. Frankly, he scared me. But he wouldn't tell me what he wanted to talk to me about. As we walked along through the maple corridors he actually made small talk, asking me about my classes and my family and whether my nephew would come to campus for Mabon again this year. When we got to the Martin House, I stopped him and insisted he come out with it. He faced me.

"Daniel," he told me, "I've got some bad news. The land trust had to raise some money and they've approved a small timber sale. Your 'spot' in the woods is included. I'm sorry."

I felt all the blood drain from my face. I turned away and could not speak. I didn't know how to respond. My spot! My place in the woods! My home!

"Did you hear me?" Charlie asked. "I said they're going to cut your trees down. The spot you've been living in for a year is going to be gone."

"I don't believe it," I mumbled. And then, in a very different tone of voice, "I don't believe it. My spot is on our side of the boundary! Anyway, the land trust wouldn't do that." I looked at Charlie. He was having trouble keeping a straight face and not entirely succeeding. "You lied to me! What the hell?"

Charlie shifted his stance, subtly readying himself for self-defense the way Karen taught her senior students. He thought I was going to hit him. And I might have, if his defensive posture hadn't made me think. My hands had made fists of themselves. I turned away.

"Why did you lie to me?" I asked.

"It was necessary," he said, calmly. "But it won't be again. You have my vote to graduate."

"This was a test?"

"Almost four years ago, you said you want what I have. The only thing I really have is love--and I know of only one way to check if you have it, too. You have my vote. I'm sorry it had to hurt. I won't lie t you again."

"I don't know what to say," I told him. I didn't want to hit him anymore, but I couldn't just absorb something like that as if it were nothing. For a moment I'd thought he was screwing with me. I couldn't get that feeling out of my head. I looked over at him again, unable to instantly forgive him, and I saw the most extraordinary sadness on his face, just for a moment. It was a subtle thing, something in his eyes. The rest of his face did not move.

"For horticulture today," he told me, "survey some of the forest trails for exotics. You don't have to speak to anyone, if you don't want to."

He meant, I'm sure, that I don't have to speak to him.

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