Friday, November 13, 2020

Lilith and the chemistry prof



Lilith and I walked farther into the cemetery than we usually do today, past the black tombs with Japanese names on them, around the corner, and up the hill toward a loop built around fountains and a garden (with stones and plaques in it, including some to the still living). Climbing the hill, Lilith and I saw at the top a fast walker and a slow walker coming towards us. Fast walker approached first, a small Asian woman with a shirt that read WOMAN on it, and something about the Ironman below. "Do you need a day to see the Temple?" she asked me. Hardly. She and her haole husband (on a slow meditative walk, she said) are in Kaneohe to take care of her mother, who has health issues, and needs rehab. She lives on Long Island and teaches Chemistry at Pace University. Her husband arrived, shirtless and slow, was introduced by his wife to me and Lilith. She wondered about my KC cap, so I told her it came from the Negro Leagues Museum. I got it after a Baseball and Lit conference in Kansas, I told her. "Conferences!" she exclaimed. "I miss them." To which her wry husband asked, "Would you rather be here or at a conference?" She looked at the mountains, which we'd been admiring, and said "here." To every abrupt thought she uttered, he clearly responded with a slow intervention. Yin and yang, they were. I told her that, as we parted company and she laughed, "I could _never_ walk as slowly as he does!" After we rounded the loop and came down the hill, within sight of the temple, I saw him, wandering very slowly toward another loop. As we turned the corner, she appeared, bright and very buff, and I told her about Ferdinand Marcos's former tomb up the hill. She asked how old Lilith is (all energy today) and I said, "I think she's nearly five." "Just a pup!" she said. "You rescued her?"

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