A Tale of Thalassa

Anianiau Teil Unendlichkeit
September 8, 2016

Oh my multi-hued rose
Do you remember the language of laughter?
And those crazy midnight romps
We lay side by side as I gently brushed the hair from your face and named you
You spoke softly of loyalty and love
After hide and seek in the dark
I played guitar as you sang of kumbaya
Our hands in caress as the ice slowly melted
Now I cling to the window screen like a wayward bat
Lost and exposed in the bright daylight
Could you not have stayed?
Could you not have whispered, “I love you”, after the others had left?
For though I have no language, I still have a beating heart

Young Thalassa
September 9, 2016

I wake up and roll out of bed, make my way into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and splash some water on my face. I look into the mirror.

“Still beautiful”, as the girl beside me laughs under her breath.

It is a crisp, sunny day. I stride though the lower quad and step out onto the knoll. She is sitting on the grass taking in the view.

“Lovely”, I speak.

She turns to look at me and smiles. “Yes, I can see clear to Monterey today.”

I smile back, “That is not what I meant”.

She pats the ground next to her, and I sit down. “Good morning, Sunshine”, I beam.

“It’s afternoon already.” She stretches her arms.

“What are you going to do after you graduate?” I ask.

“I don’t know. I am thinking of becoming an airline stewardess.” Curling the hair around her ear.

“You have got to be kidding. Why?” I pull mindlessly at the grass.

“I think it would be exciting. Travel the world, meet interesting people.” Her hands wave the air.

“I’m an interesting person.” I pronounce hopefully.

“You are a little too interesting.” She replies with a laugh.

“You know, one day you are going to wake up and realize that all you ever wanted was right here at Stevenson all along.” I say in seriousness as I let the pulled grass fall from my hands.

“Well right now I am realizing that I am late for class. See ya” She gets up and walks off.

“Bye” I need a cup of coffee. I get up to walk to the break room as a year passes with each footfall.

I never really knew Thalassa. She slipped through my hands like the sand at the beach. Yet she became an important figure in the mythos of my mind. She is the goddess of the ocean, beautiful, powerful, and magical. And she resides by the seashore, like a pleasant soft spring breeze.

September 10, 2016

Do not sacrifice yourself
I am not who I appear to be
A bygone is often just a misunderstanding
A foregone, an error
Give to me mine
And in return you will be forgiven
For love knows no boundaries
And fears no evil

September 11, 2016

Sit with me a while
Let’s talk of giraffes and such
We share the same fate

September 12, 2016

“Give up! You are done.” She taunts me mercilessly.

“I have one more card to play.” I say quietly.

“So play it then.” Emily puts the charcoals away, and walks to the sink to wash her hands.

“Don’t know. It could be game over after that.” I examine her latest work. “I think I like your pastels better. Charcoals always seem so dark to me.”

“You’re changing the subject. Its never over until you die anyway.” She pins the work under a light to take a final look. “I like this one. Look at the composition.”

“Always the cheery one. I am just pissing her off.” I start posing the art mannequin. “Anyway, it is a bowl of fruit. It needs color.”

“She likes to play hard to get.” She picks up an apple and tosses it to me. “You need to eat more vegetables.”

I clumsily fumble the apple onto the table and then pick it up. “Its fruit. Needs color.” I take a bite. “I am going to give up.”

“She will be disappointed.” Emily eats a grape. “Hmm… These are good. I think she is bored. Play your card.”

“Maybe.” I put the apple on the table. “I got some new music from Christopher.”

“Is it good?” She eats another grape.

“Yeah, been playing it a lot. Nice to get something fresh, my old stuff is pretty stale.” I sit down in a chair and lean back.

“You two seem to have the same taste in music.” She sits across from me.

“Well, I like his stuff. Don’t know if he likes mine.” I laugh. “Its pretty old.”

“Old like you.” She laughs. “I think this is good for you. Don’t give up. Think of it as a challenge. What’s your last card anyway?”

“Le Bateleur” I smile.

עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע
September 17, 2016

Now the time has come
We shall taste the fruit of life
Beget the star child

September 19, 2016

“Chris, she blocked him.” Emily puts her down her latte.

“Blocked him from where?” Chris laughs.

“Facebook. I don’t think it is funny. It is kind of weird.” She frowns at Chris.

“What did he say?” Chris smiles as a fat guy passes them sipping on a grande frappachino.

“He asked her about Beth.” Emily takes another sip on her latte.

“Not this again. Can’t those two bury the hatchet?” Chris is looking at a pretty Asian girl sitting nearby. “What has it been 30 years?”

“35” Emily breaks a piece off her scone. “I think she wants to bury the hatchet in his back.” She smiles and eats the piece of scone.

“What does he have to say about it?” He sips his coffee again.

“He doesn’t really talk about it much.” Emily turns her head as the barista announces someone’s drink is ready. “I think it bothers him.”

“He really should give it a rest.” Chris takes a serious tone. “She obviously doesn’t want to deal with it.”

“You should talk to him.” She takes another sip. “He needs to just let go.”

“I don’t want to get involved.” Chris is looking at the Asian girl again. “I don’t really know what to say anyway.”

“Just tell him what you told me.” She sighs. “He listens to you.”

“Why don’t you tell him?” Chris gestures with his hands, and takes a piece of her scone.

“Chris, it would be better if it comes from you.” She grabs her phone. “Do you have his number?”

“Oh God” Chris rolls his eyes. “Yes, I have it. Why don’t you just talk to her about it.”

“Yes, like that is going to solve anything. It is not her problem anyway.” She puts her phone away.

“Jesus, it’s like the guy just woke up and now he is twenty years old.” Chris laughs. “What’s next?”

“Who knows” Emily grabs her purse. “I gotta go. Thanks for the coffee.”

“Sure” Chris sips his coffee. “You owe me next time.”

“k” She turns to go. “Say hi to your Mom for me.” God, I have a million things to do.

September 20, 2016

Your day has come once again
The season of falling leaves and pumpkins is upon us
I take your hand and lead you to the knoll
For you and I shall partake in Mabon
And watch as Aldebaran dances under the moonlight
In this warm night I touch my mouth to yours
And gently lay you in the soft grass
So it has been for thousands of years
And so it shall be for thousands more
We will become one as the Earth slowly moves beneath us
And celebrate with magnificence and splendor

September 23, 2016

“Stop it!” The dog keeps trying to bite her. “Sit quietly.” Why did I bring my dog to class, this was a big mistake. “Sit!”

“Dog. Come here.” I lower my hand as the puppy comes running over. “Hi, how are you?” I pet him and let the puppy chew on my arm.

Good, let him bother you for a while, she thinks, as she tries to take notes.

The dog chews like crazy at my arm. His sharp teeth puncturing my arm over and over again. “My God, you are going crazy”, I say. “What ‘s bothering you?” Totally oblivous as to what is going on around me.

The teacher tries to teach while she pretends to pay attention.

I feel around the puppy’s mouth as he continues to gnaw at me. Oh, a loose tooth. That must be the problem. The puppy opens his mouth wide as I grab on and pull the loose tooth free. “That is why you are so crazy.” I say. I massage his gums a bit and then let the puppy lick my hand.

I can’t believe this, she thinks, as she watches in amazement while I pull the tooth out of her dog’s head.

“Poor you!” I exclaim as the dog prances back to his master’s seat.

She sits quietly as the dog curls up under her feet and goes to sleep.

The lecturer drones on as the class watches the sleeping puppy.

I turn the puppy tooth over in my hand. A nice prize, I think.

Eventually the lecturer finishes his monolog, and the class gets up to leave. “May I have my dog’s tooth?” She says as she passes my desk.

“Sure”, I say. “Here.” I hand her the puppy tooth.

She takes the tooth and doesn’t say another word as she walks out of the classroom.

I smile quietly to myself. This is a good day, I think.

I am told she still has the puppy tooth. It is one of her prized possessions.

I still have the memory. It is one of mine.

September 29, 2016

“Walt, everyone has moved on.” Chris steps carefully as to not kick up too much dust. “She has a boyfriend already.”

“Well what did she say?” There is a tone of exasperation in Walt’s voice. “She must have said something.”

“She said that some guys just don’t get the hint.” Chris pushes a branch out of his way. This is not an easy conversation.

“What does that mean?” Walt is practically yelling now. “That can be interpreted three different ways!” He pushes the same branch out of his way.

“Walt, calm down. She was never interested in you.” He wipes the sweat from his forehead. “She has already found someone else.”

“OK, but why didn’t she just say that?” Walt takes a quick step as the trail widens and walks alongside Chris. “I would have understood. I really just wanted to talk. What does your Mom have to say about this?”

Chris laughs, “She just laughs. Walt, you are married. My Mom is married. Stephanie has found someone else. This whole thing is just completely ridiculous.” Chris points to some rabbits just off the trail. “Look, there are some rabbits out.”

“Yes, I haven’t seen too many lately. I don’t think it is the season.” Walt admires the small cottontails. “They usually come out in the spring.” They both fall silent for a while.

“I think that Bishu’s death was too much for you.” Chris speaks in a quiet and gentle voice. “Have you talked to anyone about it?”

“Bitao” Walt frowns to himself. “Yes, I have.”

Chris hesitates for a second. “She died of cancer?” The hiking pace slows as the gravity of the situation exerts its influence.

“Brain cancer” Walt looks at the ground. “It happened very fast.”

“I’m very sorry for your loss.” Chris puts his hand on Walt’s shoulder in sympathy.

Walt stops abruptly and looks squarely into Chris’ eyes. “She is not dead.” He states.

“Who?” Chris looks confused.

“Bitao” Walt stares keenly at Chris. “She is not dead.”

October 4, 2016

Footsteps in the sand
Though I do not walk alone
There is but one track

October 5, 2016

“Walt, this is bad.” Beth has her Dali Lama stern taskmaster face on. “That girl is not Jesus!”

“Beth…” Walt cannot get the words out. He thinks that the décor of Peet’s is better than Starbucks. Beth has good taste. “There are things that you do not know.”

“I don’t want you talking to Chris anymore.” Beth picks up her Mocha and then puts it back down again without taking a sip. “And don’t talk to Emily either.” Her eyes begin to water. “Have you been talking to Alison?”

“You mean Allison with two L’s?” Walt smiles. “She blocked me too.” Walt takes a sip on his latte.

“Don’t talk to Alison, and do not try contacting Stephanie anymore!” Beth is breathing heavily now. “I talked with Jennifer and she says that you are drinking again. We are going to check you in to a dual diagnosis program. You need to go.”

“Will they sing kumbaya in there?” Walt laughs heartily.

“Shut up, Walt.” Beth’s nostrils flare widely. “If I hear you talk about kumbaya one more time I am going to scream!” Beth is yelling now as the Peet’s customers turn their heads to look what is going on.

“Beth…” Walt cannot get the words out. He puts his head in his hands.

“Look, I want you to go home and wait for the call.” Beth gets up to leave. “And don’t drink! Jennifer will be home this evening.” Beth turns to go. She pauses for a second. “Walt, get a grip on yourself.” She walks out of the coffee house.

Walt smiles to himself. Get a grip, he laughs. That’s pretty funny. He sits for a while and slowly finishes his drink as his mind drifts back to bygone days. ‘Beth, I love you.’ Why could he not have said it? Why could he never say it? He gets up to go, throws his cup away and walks out. Tomorrow is another day.

October 6, 2016

I have arisen
Alive in the flesh this time
She smiles, life is good

October 7, 2016

I cruise through the parking lot carefully checking the cars. I don’t see her plate. I pull into a slot and get out of my car. It is only a few steps to the benches. I find the place, the place where she sat. Not the last time, but before that. I gently take her spot, our bodies merging into one, separated only by time.

‘Hello again’, I think as I let my mind wander. Today I drift to the Pandora session, one of my favorites. She looked so nice that day. Black formal attire, this was rare. What did we talk about, finance, international politics, marriage? I remember the curve of the curb as we walked along the sidewalk, the same type of curve as at my parent’s first house, the house where I spent my infancy. She was wearing heels. I told her how to walk in them. I remember her hands, so small and interesting, always with a hint of tremor just below the surface.

She is gone now. There is no witty response to my messages, no request for a shoulder massage, no deep discussion of work related stuff. The quiet only broken by the sound of a father teaching his young daughter to ride a bike for the first time. I miss her, her spark, her naiveté. She brought a lot of joy into my life, and also conflicts that would transform me for evermore. But the sorrow of her passing would bring dark clouds to this blue sky.

What do you have to say, I ask.

She looks up to me and in a soft trembly voice says, ‘Walt, why did you name me Amanda? Was it some kind of joke?’

I smile and say ‘Amanda means worthy of love, and this is what I have always thought of you.’ I put my hand on her shoulder and gently kiss the top of her head. You are in God’s hands now. My only regret is that I never got a chance to say goodbye.

Hong Fu
October 9, 2016

“Now Walt says we are all just fictional characters.” Beth thinks that the Kung Pao chicken is too spicy. She reaches for her water. “I think he has gone totally nuts.”

“What about Stephanie?” Chris fumbles with the chopsticks, puts them down and grabs a fork. “Surely she is not fictional.”

“Stephanie didn’t have any lines of dialog.” Emily likes her sweet and sour pork. “She only blocked him on facebook, same with Alison. That doesn’t seem very real to me.”

“Mom, what about the puppy tooth? Was that real?” Chris is also eating sweet and sour pork.

Beth thinks for a second. “Hmm… I don’t remember that. In fact, I can’t remember anything at all.” Now she is really wishing she had ordered sweet and sour pork.

“You are definitely fictional then.” Emily laughs. She reaches for the water as the sweet and sour becomes overpowering.

“Maybe Walt is fictional.” Chris is laughing now too.

“OK, tell me Chis, what do you do for a living?” Emily is becoming a bit more serious now.

“Well… I don’t know. I don’t really seem to do much of anything.” Chris seems puzzled now. “I seem to like music though.”

Beth takes up the game. “How about you Emily. Are you really an artist?” She smiles at Emily.

“Yes, I have an art studio and I have done abstracts and charcoal drawings.” Emily looks a bit unsure.

“No one does charcoal drawings of a bowl of fruit!” Chris laughs again. “That’s just completely ridiculous.”

“Oh my God!” Beth is looking kind of uneasy now.

“Yes, I guess you are right.” Emily seems unsure of herself. “I never really thought of that before.”

Chris flags down a waiter. “Excuse me, do you have any Chimay beer?” He asks.

“No, we only serve Tsingtao. Would you like one?” The waiter states politely.

“Um, OK.” Chris looks disappointed. “Yes, I’ll have one.” He looks back to the group. “I guess we are living in the matrix after all.” He shrugs his shoulders.

“Can I try some of your sweet and sour pork?” Beth asks. “My dish is a bit too spicy.”

October 12, 2016

My roommate handed me the response letter. Kind of embarrassed I took it into my room to open it. Why had I written the letter in the first place? I don’t know. My roommate, the psychology student, convinced me to write it. I think I was his first patient. I opened the letter and read it through. Then read it through again. My God! This was not playing hard to get. This was a total rejection. Why had I written the letter?

It was 1981. My whole world was crashing down around me. My friends had all abandon me, my studies were failing, and my world had suddenly become very small. Things were falling apart pretty rapidly, so I hatched a dramatic plan. A Hail Mary pass in a last ditch effort to win the game. Now I knew it had failed. The receiver had dropped the ball. The game was essentially lost. The clock was running out. I decided to run.

My Dad was really pissed I decided to transfer to UC Santa Cruz. First I had turned down Stanford and now I was giving up UC Davis for what, a party school? He even came up to Davis to try to talk me out of it, but to no avail. I stood my ground. I was going. I was done here.

I filled out the paperwork. It was not hard, and in spring quarter of 1981 I arrived at UC Santa Cruz. I had visited the campus with a friend in the summer of 1980 and had fallen in love with the place. It was incredibly beautiful. I remember in the letter I compared the beauty of the UC Santa Cruz campus to the beauty of her face. It was one of my better lines.

And so my life turned. For the better, or for the worse I will never know, but turn it did. UC Santa Cruz was everything I had hoped it would be. The people were friendly and interesting, and the campus was just incredible. Yet I found it is not so easy to escape one’s problems. Redefining yourself does not erase the past, and what you write on the blank slate is actually very important. That said however, my decisions had a profound effect on my life, and I would not be who I am now if I had not made them. It would have been nice if she had come.

The Book of Job
October 14, 2016

“You know you gave them exactly what they want.” Sulli is typing on the keyboard. “You could have sued them.”

“It’s not about money with me.” Sheldon sighs. “Just because they won doesn’t make what they did right.” He takes another sip from his beer.

“Always the moralist.” Sulli shakes her head. “Look where it’s got you.” She notices a typo and fixes it.

“I have not done so bad. We have had a pretty good life.” Sheldon thinks that he needs to come up with a new name for Sulli. “It’s time to take a rest. Going up against a whole company is just too much trouble.”

“Do you really think that that stuff you were working on worked?” Sulli grabs the beer and takes a sip.

“I’m not really sure. It would have taken a lot of work to follow through.” Sheldon is thinking of how it all went down. “They were not interested in working with me anyway. They were too busy trying to screw us.”

“Jim thinks he’s really good at Bridge.” Sulli laughs. “They are so proud of themselves.”

“Let them be proud.” Sheldon is still serious. “It’s a small game they’re playing.”

“Jesus Sheldon, you cut Arthur, you cut Dhami, and now you have cut the dual diagnosis program.” Sulli notices that Dhami is flagged as a misspelling. “And Jennifer is really upset. I don’t know what is going to happen there.”

“What will happen will happen.” Sheldon states. “The important thing is to get off the meds and watch the alcohol.” He pours the last of the bottle into his glass. “It would have been nice to meet some new people however.”

“Sheldon as Job.” Sulli smiles. “You must trust your faith in God. Is that it?”

Sheldon laughs. “I do not have faith in God.” He proclaims in a deep and resounding voice. “I have faith in myself.”

Sulli laughs. “Don’t worry Sheldon. I‘ll watch your back.”

October 16, 2016

“This is nice.” Walt puts down his sandwich. “I didn’t even know they were here.”

“Yes, I think they have been here for a while.” Beth says. She is kind of quiet today. Not her usual self. “The bread here is fantastic. You really should take a loaf home. Try the Joe’s Bread. It’s almost as good as Tartine.”

“When did you move here?” Walt is happy to hear of the bread. “I thought you were living in Fresno or something.”

“Well, I am still in the process of moving actually.” Beth looks kind of sad. “It is nice to be close to the ocean again.” She manages a smile.

“I just came from the beach.” Walt notices how crowded the place is getting now. “Looks like there is an algae bloom going on. The tide looks green, and there is a lot of sea foam washing up.”

Beth finishes chewing her food. “It’s probably just seasonal. I do think the water is getting warmer due to global warming though. Things seem to be changing pretty fast now.”

“Hmm.” Walt is eating and can’t talk at the moment.

“You haven’t met my daughter have you?” Beth takes a sip of coffee.

“No, I have only met Chris. Is she older or younger?” Walt looks into Beth’s eyes.

“Younger” Beth returns the stare for a moment. “She is completing her studies at UC Berkeley.”

“That’s a good school.” Walt shows some excitement. “My son went there. I was really impressed with it.” He breaks the stare and then looks back. “What is she studying?”

“Climate Science” The pride shows on Beth’s face. “She is getting her PhD.” She smiles.

“Nice” Walt is very impressed. “I think that‘s a good choice.” He pauses for a second. “What’s her name?”

“Keelin” Beth takes a picture out of her purse. “Here” She hands the picture to Walt.

Walt takes a look. ‘My God!’ He thinks. She is stunning. Dark hair and what looks like green eyes. He smiles and a slight blush shows on his face. “She looks a lot like you.” He hands the picture back to Beth.

Beth puts the picture back into her purse. She starts to speak and then hesitates for a moment. “Walt, she is yours.”

They lock eyes as neither dares to speak. Walt can hear the ambient crowd noise as the customers mill about the bakery. Thoughts rush through his head as he contemplates the meaning of what she just said. Finally he breaks the silence. “I want to meet her.”

October 17, 2016

It’s good to be alone
The raindrops cling to the ferns
Sunlight shining through the canopy above
The ground still damp from the recent rain
I pass through the redwoods and spill out onto the meadow edge
The sky blue with scattered white clouds
The meadow green all the way to the rocky coast
Where white water breaks against the shore
I will need to light a fire tonight, as the air is chill
My dinner simmers in the slow cooker
And there is bread and wine in the pantry
My days pass slowly
And my nights are quiet
As I listen to my music
And dream of you

October 18, 2016

“Shit, Walt, how many kids do you have!” Jack always walks too fast when he is excited. “How do you know she is yours anyway?”

Walt laughs, “She did 23&me.” He struggles to keep pace with Jack. “I showed up as her father.”

“I can’t believe this.” Jack pauses at a fork in the trail. “Let’s go to the pond.” He pushes forward. “How do you know this girl anyway?”

“I knew her in college.” Walt is happy they are taking the pond route, as it is more flat. “We never really got it together, but she became a flight attendant. I ran into her on a flight later when I was working.”

“So you shacked up in a hotel after the flight?” Jack is incredulous. “Were you married at the time?”

“No, we just exchanged contact information.” Walt is breathing hard now. “Slow down a bit, can you? We hooked up later after we had gotten home.”

“Is she asking for money?” Jack puts on his lawyer hat for a moment. “This could be bad news for you.”

“No, not yet, but this is all very new.” Walt suddenly feels sick to his stomach. “I don’t know. I don’t know how this is going to pan out. Jennifer is going to flip out.”

“You said in the email that you had quit your job.” Jack finally slows down. “What’s up with that?”

Walt feels the relief of the slower pace. “They pretty much pushed me out. I’m getting too old.”

“That’s age discrimination.” again with the lawyer hat. “You really should talk to someone. I can give you the name of the guy I used.”

“No, I already quit. It is too late for that.” Walt sighs. “Besides, I am getting really tired. I need to take a break.”

“How are things with Jennifer?” Jack starts to speed up again.

“Pretty bad.” Why does Jack always walk so fast? “I’m afraid this may be the last straw.” Walt considers options in his head.

“Man, first Bitao dies, and now this.” Jack shakes his head. “You are screwed.”

“Well, it’s not the first time.” Walt remembers past trauma. “Things have a way of working out.”

“I wonder if there is any water in the pond?” Jack changes the subject. “It rained pretty good yesterday.”

October 19, 2016

“I always like to take 580” Walt says as he takes the off ramp towards 580. “It seems like a much nicer drive.”

“Me too.” Beth replies. They drive in silence for a while, each lost in their own thoughts.

Walt smiles. “Do you remember when I named you Bethanie?” He turns to look at Beth for a second.

“Walt…” Beth places her hand to her head.

“Remember?” Walt is getting excited. “You were playing that ridiculous Gentle Giant song.” He is laughing now. “Do you remember what we talked about?” Walt is like a little kid opening presents on Christmas.

Beth laughs. “I only remember you kept talking about Stephanie non-stop.”

Walt is really excited. “Who started making the jokes? Was it me or you?” He laughs again. “I think that was probably the best conversation I have ever had in my entire life.”

“I think it was mutual assured destruction.” Beth wipes the tears from her eyes. “Why did you leave?”

“I don’t know.” Walt becomes a bit calmer now. “I was inexperienced. I guess I just misread the situation.” He takes the cloverleaf onto 580. “When you started talking about loyalty I didn’t know what to do. I had never really been in a relationship before. I had no idea what you were talking about.”

Beth turns on the fan to get some air. “When you didn’t pursue I wasn’t sure what it meant.”

Walt adjusts the vent for her. “Well, I was sort of waiting for you to come around, but then you just disappeared.”

Beth sighs. “There was a lot going on for me at the time.” They drive in silence again for a bit, and then Beth turns to Walt. “What really happened with that girl? Chris told me you think she is still alive. He was pretty concerned about you.”

Walt keeps looking forward. “Hmm. It’s complicated. Kind of a long story.”

Asian Ghetto
October 20, 2016

“This is cool.” Walt looks around as they climb the stairs. “Looks like it was built in the 1920’s. I always liked the Asian Ghetto.”

Beth smiles “One of her roommates found it. The Italian restaurant next door is pretty good. Maybe we can eat there later.” Beth is thinking that this is going pretty well so far.

“Sounds good.” Walt is kind of hungry. He stops and turns to Beth. “What am I supposed to say?” He looks a bit uncomfortable.

Beth puts her hand on his shoulder. “It’s OK. Don’t be nervous.” She gives Walt a smile. “Just be yourself.”

They reach the door and Beth gives a knock.

After a moment the door opens. “Hi. Come in” Keelin motions with her hand. “My roommates are all out.”

They enter the apartment and Beth gives Keelin a hug. Walt extends his hand. “Hi, I’m Walt.” His face flushed red.

“Hi Walt, I am Keelin.” She shakes his hand. Keelin smiles. She seems quite relaxed given the situation.

Keelin shows them around the apartment. It looks all original 1920 style. “I like your place.” Walt is wishing he were a college student again. They end up in the living room. Walt thinks that Beth is being kind of quiet.

“I’m sorry there is not much furniture.” Keelin says with a slight laugh. “Have you seen the campus?”

“Yes, my son went here.” Walt takes a chair as they all sit down. “It’s a good school.”

“Oh, what did he study?” Keelin asks. “When was he here?”

“EECS” Walt replies. “He graduated in 2014.”

Keelin wonders if she knows him. She decides not to ask at the moment. “What’s he doing now?”

“He’s working in the south bay.” Walt wants to shift the subject to Keelin. “So your Mom says you are studying Climate Science?” Walt looks at Beth and then back to Keelin.

“Well, yes.” Keelin looks at Beth and then back to Walt. “I am hoping to work at Berkeley Labs eventually.”

Walt smiles. “So is Paul Beckwith right? Are we all going to hell?”

Being and Nothingness
October 21, 2016

Keelin sits alone in the empty apartment. Mom and Walt have already gone. She feels tired. ‘My whole life up to this point has been a lie.’ She thinks. She replays the day’s events in her mind. ‘Walt seems like a nice guy, and I think he was genuinely interested in my work.’ She smiles, ‘Mom really likes him. This is good.’

She remembers when she did 23&me. ‘Why did it take so long to get the results? And then they sent me that message that they had to send the sample out to get it sequenced. I thought I had some horrible disease or something.’ She remembers that joke her Mom told her; about the guy who said he had a big surprise in his jeans. She puts her face in her hands.

‘Then Mom and Dad started fighting. I cried so hard that night. I knew it was all my fault. Dad wanted a divorce. Mom talked him into a trial separation. Now she is moving to Aptos.’ Keelin lets out a deep sigh, tears forming in her eyes. ‘At least she will be closer. I can go see her more often. She needs my support right now.’

She wonders about Chris. She told him not to get tested. It may just make things worse. ‘How could this have happened? I would have never believed that Mom would do something like that.’ A tear rolls down Keelin’s face.

Tracy was the first to get home. “How did it go?” She asks.

Keelin looks up. “OK. It was fine.” She wipes her eyes.

Tracy enters the room to sit next to Keelin. “Oh my God. You have to tell me everything.” She looks intently at Keelin. “I want to know every detail.”

Omnia quae sunt in tempore
October 22, 2016

“Thanks for helping me move.” Beth is taking in the view from her balcony. “It’s so nice to see the ocean.”

“Sure, no problem. That’s what friends are for.” Walt smiles. “Would you help me move?”

“No” Beth laughs. “So what happened between you and Jennifer?”

“We are probably going to separate for a while.” Walt is wondering how he is going to afford this with no job.

“You never told me, what happened to that girl?” Beth is dying of curiosity. “Is she alive or dead.”

“The world may never know.” Walt says in his deep and resounding voice.

“Come on, Walt. You have been stringing this out for a long time now.” Beth looks unhappy.

Walt laughs. “I really don’t know. I have tried to contact her many times, but there is no response.” He shrugs his shoulders. “I personally believe that she is still alive.”

“You probably should stop trying to contact her then.” Beth says in seriousness. “You seem to have a problem with this. You did the same thing with Stephanie.”

“Hmm. Yes, you’re right.” Walt sighs. “I guess I just hate to not get a answer. I would rather be rejected.”

“People move on. “ Beth turns to look at Walt. “New people will come into your life. Where are you thinking of moving to?”

“Maybe Sea Ranch.” Walt is unsure. “I don’t know.”

“Walt the hermit.” Beth laughs. “Why don’t you move here?”

“Can I live with you?” Walt asks hopefully.

Beth laughs. “You really should get your own place.”

They sit in silence for a while. “Keelin is a really great person.” Walt says. “I like her a lot. You did a nice job of raising her.”

“I think she would like to get to know you better.” Beth pets the back of Walt’s neck. “Maybe you should stick around.”

Walt welcomes the gentle touch. “Maybe.”