She walked along the wretched sidewalk of apathy, etched with cracks and upended corners. New grass stretched through the crevices of concrete and she thought of her dissertation. Her graduation. Her career. Her hunger.
As the body must take precedence over matters of the mind, especially hunger, Lydia Whent stopped at the Rebels Cafe and ordered crab bisque and bread with real butter. Al frescoe, she awaited the serving of her lunch, watching the passersby, sipping water and analyzing patterns of fabric in the various clothing upon those who could not see her green eyes behind her racy sunglasses. Too, she watched the gaits of those who walked by, and how heavy the head seemed to be on the elderly. She made special note to keep hers held up.
She’d always planned to go into medicine for as long as she could remember. She knew of her course in life when she was four years old and looked at her mother’s face, analyzing the complexion, pores and particular shape of her face.
To know these things requires meditations upon the human. Their hands, arms, faces, feet, legs and moods. At four years of age, she marveled at the spherical side of life. The earth, the human head, eyes, clocks, some forms of thinking.
But it was the brain/mind which fascinated her the most. It was still a wide open field of mystery, though advances were made regularly and she wanted to cure schizophrenia. Thereby opening herself to ridicule and speculations about her mental health. But Lydia knew of the gradations of mental illness. She knew her own quirks.
The waiter very elegantly serving her lunch, whispered, Excuse me, ma’am.
Lydia smiled up at his youthful face. Italian, he was dressed in a white shirt and black pants. Handsome. Too young for her, but Lydia looked, because that was how she’d come into this life. She was one who looked. At everything. Her mother had been very proud of her daughter’s awareness and knew when Lydia was 6 months old that she’d been born gifted.
The bisque imparted a sweet fragrance below her nose and she tilted her head just a bit to indulge.
May I bring you anything else? The waiter asked with a smile.
Lydia held up her long index finger. Just one thing…a chocolate cannolo. She ordered without looking at the young man who slightly bowed and turned to fetch the dessert.
The cannolo arrived a few minutes after she’d finished off the bisque and as the waiter walked away from the tiny table and the bright young woman with long brown hair, a shadow cast across her. The linen shirt tail looked familiar against the blue jeans.
Professor Blye. She’d blurted it as she situated the cannolo in front of her, gesturing with her left hand for him to sit with her.
Blye sat and disturbed her with a strange gaze and no smile. Enough time had passed since Friday for him to read her dissertation. But Lydia was not prepared for this.
Are you a dreamer? He asked suddenly, his eye on the cannolo.
Are you a dreamer echoed through her mind. It was the kind of question not to be answered. Not for Professor Blye.
Lydia smiled and deftly situated a piece of cannolo on her fork, raising it carefully to her mouth. It was a decadent indulgence and was a certain one in which she rarely indulged. The delightful dessert could not be neglected, even for an edgy professor.
Your dissertation was very well written. Blye commented without smile.
Lydia wiped at her mouth with a red fabric napkin as she nodded in appreciation.
Just don’t try to apply that brilliance in the real world. He advised.
Sometimes, they come too smart and he’d seen them pass through his Ivory Tower before. He usually liked them. Lydia had proven herself dedicated to her impending profession.
Lydia looked at Blye and nodded. Some things don’t have to be explained, but sometimes, validation of what is suspected frees the intellect for the path ahead.
Particularly? She asked with a raised brow.
Oh, you know, the part about linear logic. Blye advised as the waiter sat a glass of water before him.
Lydia nodded with a smile and a certain pride held hands with the same disappointment she’d known at 7 years of age, when she attempted to explain to a teacher, that two ducks standing butt to butt, were traveling in the same direction, since a continuous line is held only in the imagination, and two ducks are of the earth. Both would eventually be traveling down (or up) to meet face to face.
Oh, the nerve. Preposterous stupidity.
It was Lydia’s mother who had helped her through it all. It took adulthood for her to understand.