Looking at Familiar Surroundings

Rolling down the windows provided some relief as the cold air rushed in. A deep breath and she was fully awake and hungry. A quick check of her watch and she was ready for lunch. Rummaging in the cooler produced a sandwich and a drink. After eating in the car, she headed to the hotel. On the way there she kept the windows cracked to help stay awake. Securing an early check-in, she lugged her bag and cooler to the elevator. Ensconced in the room she was able to give her phone a little extra charge. Impatiently she checked to see if there had been a call or text from the Vet School. She turned on the TV but turned it off again after checking the weather. Pacing like a caged tiger, she traveled from the window to the bathroom and back again. She decided that a trip around campus might be interesting. Her drive onto campus showed many changes and lots of new buildings. She told herself a brisk walk would be better than driving. Finally scoring a decent parking spot, she toured campus, periodically checking her phone. They had replaced the old art buildings, Quonset huts constructed just after WWII, with a modern and spacious building. She looked over the new inner courtyard sculpture garden. There was a stone carving of a woman transforming to a cat. She examined it carefully as if it were an instruction manual. If the stone benches had been dry and clear of snow, she’d have sat and enjoyed the statues, as it was she kept moving. There was a new natatorium and 3 dormitories where the intramural fields had been. The parking lot next to the Science Building had been usurped for graduate student apartments. As she walked, her footsteps took her closer to her old dormitory. Unlike the dream, the bushes had been removed and there were no familiar faces. She was relieved that the ghosts that lingered there in her mind had abandoned the physical location. Standing in front of the steps, her memories played both the good and the bad. The sun began to slant in a way that cast long shadows indicating late afternoon jolting her back to the present. Realizing that she had been daydreaming for more than an hour, she checked her phone hoping for a missed call. There wasn’t one. She intended to drive back to the hotel but once behind the wheel she ended up at the vet hospital.

Here is another episode in this story. My own story involves a retirement party today. I don’t have any clue what is on the menu or what kind of retirement gift I’ll receive. I’m hoping that I don’t get any decorative cut glass engraved with the university logo or worse. I was told who I could invite (my little list of 27 people was axed because the big shots had to be invited).  Then as the regrets to the invitation started rolling in, I was informed that I could invite people after all. Of course I had already let some people know that they were welcome to crash the party. If too many people show up what can they do? Fire me?? I’ll let you know how it went.

14 thoughts on “Looking at Familiar Surroundings

  1. I totally get Lu’s restlessness, pacing, checking her phone for (non-existent) news on Mister’s condition, unintentionally driving back to the vet clinic. I loved her careful examination of the stone carving of a woman transforming to a cat, “as if it were an instruction manual.” I hope your retirement party is a blast, a great kick-off to the carefree days ahead. Congrats, Muri, and welcome to the club! 🙂

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  2. When I handed you your silly gift, I almost slipped. I started to say, “I’ll give you you’re real gift at your REAL party!” Then I realized who was standing with us and changed it to, “…at later…” or whatever awkward thing came out of my mouth. Haha! I was amused that J was known as your “shopping friend” and I was known as your “geocaching friend.”

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    1. Hehe! Did you see the photo Sparky posted on FB of the work crew? Everyone is smiling but one… I have talked to Sarah about all the exploits we’ve had and of course J is known as the fashionista (one of my coworkers had her as an art teacher in HS and she was noted as the best dressed teacher)! I have parties lined up from now to the 17th – 3rd, 4th, 5th, 14th, 15th, 17th! I don’t know when I’ll get to have my REAL party. It will happen!

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