Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
Friday, April 10, 1999
His mind was still back in the classroom, processing complicated portions of the lecture he had just heard. Because he was so deep in thought, his preoccupied stroll nearly carried him right past her without noticing. Nothing, however – not even DNA analysis – could be more compelling to his attention than she.
Dan stopped dead. What was Diana doing here? He turned around to where she stood, tucked into a corner of the hallway. She was wringing her hands and staring at him nervously. Walking over to her, he grabbed both of her hands and kissed her softly. Any and all questions came after letting her know that he was always glad to see her.
That seemed to settle her. She nuzzled his cheek and breathed deeply of his scent. Then she gave his hands a squeeze and stepped back to lift her troubled violet eyes to his.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?” Dan asked, hoping his smile would ease her tension.
Diana bit her lip. “I owe you an apology.”
Dan frowned, confused. “For?”
Her expression softened, and with a slight twinkle to her eye she said, “For being an idiot, I’m told.”
Dan chuckled. Tucking her hand into the crook of his arm, he moved her down the corridor. “And who told you this? Some fortune teller, perhaps?”
“Your favorite blonde.”
“Great,” he snorted. “You’re letting the confused one put ideas into your head now?”
Di smiled softly. “She’s only confused when she’s judging her own actions and reactions. Really, though, hasn’t that always been the case?”
“I guess,” Dan responded noncommittally. “I’m just wondering how she convinced you, my beautiful, talented love, that you’re being an idiot.”
After one very deep breath, Di rattled her answer off as quickly as she could. “By telling me that I’m sabotaging our relationship by avoiding the subject of what happens after your graduation.”
Dan was silent for so long that Diana wondered if he’d heard her. It wasn’t until they’d reached the student union and were seated at a table for two – and she was working up a good sweat – that he broke the silence. Sitting across from Di, Dan stared intently at her. “I’m gonna want to thank her, aren’t I?”
Relaxing slightly, Di nodded. “If I explain myself well, yeah.” She searched his face. “Can you let me finish trying to explain before you comment?”
The tender look which crossed his face softened Dan’s features. “Of course I can, love.”
Drumming her fingers on the tabletop, Di sighed deeply and rolled her eyes. “Don’t be so sure. I told you, I’m an idiot.”
Dan chuckled. He grabbed one of her hands and brought it to his lips. “I’ll be the judge of that. Start talking.”
The hand he held gripped his tightly, and with her other hand she started tracing the designs in the tabletop. Her eyes followed her fingers, as if it helped to keep her thoughts organized. “I’ve avoided the subject because I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t influence your decisions. You have dreams and goals and opportunities in front of you. I wanted you to look at what would be best for you. I was afraid that if I expressed an opinion, it would change how you weighed your options. If I encouraged you to take advantage of a good opportunity in Chicago, would it seem like I didn’t want you to be near me? Or if I encouraged you to look at a job in Boston, would it look like I wanted you to come to me, whether it was the best offer or not?”
Di watched Dan, getting nervous all over again, while he mulled over what she had said. Dan was often slow to respond when he wanted to be certain his thoughts were communicated clearly. “Let me ask you this: If I had made my choice with no input from you, when your graduation rolls around next year, what would you do?”
“Go wherever you are,” Di answered sheepishly. “See? That’s where the idiot part comes in.”
Dan rubbed his thumb in a circle on the back of her hand. “I’ve tried to weigh my options objectively. I really have. But all I can see is how much I want to be where you are.”
The look he gave her sent Diana’s heart to fluttering. Her love for him filled her soul. “Oh, Dan! I want that too. So much. But I don’t want you making a poor career choice just so we can be together.”
Dan nodded. “It occurred to me that if I knew there was somewhere specific where you could be happy after graduation, and I could get a good job there, we could survive one more year apart in order to make sure we’re happy together after you graduate. The problem is, I have no idea what you want for yourself. You’ve made a point of avoiding that subject.”
Tears filled her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Dan scooted his chair next to hers and pulled her into his arms. “Don’t. Love, please don’t cry. Let’s not waste time with guilt. Let’s just fix this… together.”
Di hugged him fiercely, almost afraid to let go. “I love you, Dan. That matters more than anything.”
Dan kissed her forehead and rubbed her back. Suddenly the weight of the world fell from his shoulders. All the stress he had felt, and all the difficulty he’d been having in reviewing his career options, had been because of the uncertainty of his standing with Diana. Knowing that whatever they decided they would do it together made everything better.
His mood considerably improved, Dan chuckled. “So where’d you leave my favorite blonde, anyway?”
Di pulled away from him, eyes bright with excitement. Her beautiful face was glowing. Before she could answer, however, they were interrupted.
Peri rushed up to their table. “Dan! Have you seen Jim? He missed his meeting with his advisor, and he’s not answering his cell phone.”
Dan turned to Peri, the worry evident on her face. “Not since I left this morning.” He glanced at Di and noticed she was struggling to contain a grin. He gave her a questioning look.
Delight danced across Di’s face, but she merely cocked an eyebrow. Dan’s jaw dropped.
“You’ve gotta be shittin’me!”
Peri glanced back and forth between the pair, her frazzled mind finally registering the fact that Diana was supposed to be in Canada with Trixie. Her presence here could only mean… Peri quickly grabbed a nearby chair, pulled it to the table, and plopped into it as the pieces came together. “Are you kidding?”
Di looked extremely smug, but she merely shrugged. “I only know where I dropped her off. I assume that if she had chickened out and hidden in the stairwell, Jim wouldn’t have missed his meeting. And she was supposed to call me when she wanted to be picked up, which she hasn’t done, so I assume she’s still there.”
Suddenly grim, Dan said, “Unless it went really badly and she took off, wandering the streets of Chicago.”
Frowning, Peri smacked his arm. “Don’t be a pessimist. Besides, Jim wouldn’t let her do that, no matter what happened between them. He would have called you.”
“Unless he called Mart,” Dan mused.
“But he’d have been answering Peri’s calls, because he’d have needed to talk to her,” Di put in. “Which probably means they’re still talking to each other.”
Dan looked at his watch and bit his lip. Pulling his cell phone out of his pocket, he placed a call. When the phone was answered, he said, “How do you feel about skipping the rest of your classes today?”
“I only have one left, but I haven’t skipped a class all semester,” Mart said.
“But your sister’s in town.”
Mart nearly choked. “Where is she?”
Dan glanced at the ladies. The hopeful look on Peri’s face and the happy one on Di’s gave him confidence. “Alone in my apartment with Jim.”
“WHAT?!?” Mart shouted so loud Dan winced in pain. “Where the hell are you?”
Enjoying himself now, Dan said, “Sitting in the student union with Peri and Di trying to figure out how long to leave them there.”
”Don’t you dare move until I get there!” Click.
Dan pocketed his phone and grinned at Di and Peri. “I believe we have time for lunch. We’d better get something for Mart, too. I think he’s going to run all the way here.”
You just never know what the Ides of March will bring. :)
Photo was taken yesterday morning of the meager sunrise on the Atlantic coast of St. Kitts. I took it myself, but it would have been better with a telephoto lens. Guess what I'll be begging for Geo to buy me? :)
The title is from Titus Andronicus, Act II, Scene i, lines ???.