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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Natalie Lind Writes it all Down for Posterity #17

By Anna Chastain

The Friday before spring break Warrenƒ?TMs mother and younger sister fly in and make willing to spend the week in some hotel downtown. ƒ?oeYour father couldnƒ?TMt be here because he had too much going on but Gen and I were at a loose end so why not. And last year your breaks didnƒ?TMt coincide.ƒ?? Kathy Hamilton told us, as soon as she was introduced, that we should all call her Kathy but somehow it doesnƒ?TMt fall off the tongue and we decide not to call her much of anything.Genevieve had said, ƒ?oeItƒ?TMs lame you guys only get a week.ƒ??

Sheƒ?TMd introduced us all to her mother a couple hours before while Warren left the two of them in our triple to go get his nice jacket from his room. Weƒ?TMd met Genevieve last semester and I remembered her as someone who drew black circles under her eyes with semi-reflective eyeliner: and she remembered us too. ƒ?oeThatƒ?TMs Kesia,ƒ?? she said, starting off with the obvious: ƒ?oeKesiaƒ?TMs black; and thatƒ?TMs Jeff, heƒ?TMs Korean; Tobyƒ?TMs Jewish; Natalieƒ?TMs gay; and Bernadetteƒ?TMsƒ?”ƒ?? she took longer with this one but she marshaled her information and pushed ahead, ƒ?oeBernadetteƒ?TMs a lush.ƒ??

ƒ?oeWell,ƒ?? Jeff said. ƒ?oeIƒ?TMm Korean-American actually. And in case weƒ?TMre all wondering, Iƒ?TMm not adopted.ƒ??

Bernadette elbowed him in his shoulder and hissed. ƒ?oeWhat about mine? Mineƒ?TMs not even almost true.ƒ??

Jeff had gone off to do his 7pm rounds, but when Warren comes back, in his grey-green tweed jacket, Warrenƒ?TMs mother decides to take all the rest of us out to dinner. So thatƒ?TMs where we are. She drapes her grey cashmere over the back of her chair and sits down, pulls the iced water closer to her and says, ƒ?oeWarren doesnƒ?TMt talk a lot about his friends. How did you all meet?ƒ??

ƒ?oeWe lived on the same floor last year,ƒ?? Bernadette says. ƒ?oeWarrenƒ?TMs not much of a personality at first but Jeff was his roommate and Jeff liked him and Jeff has a sense about that.ƒ??

ƒ?oeI donƒ?TMt know Iƒ?TMd go that far,ƒ?? Kesia mutters, ƒ?oeJeff sure has a thing about you.ƒ??

Warrenƒ?TMs mother says, ƒ?oeI told Warren: I knew that at college heƒ?TMd find such interesting friends. This is what you have to look forward to at Georgetown, Gen.ƒ??

ƒ?oeSeriously?ƒ?? Genevieve eyes Bernadetteƒ?TMs leather boots speculatively.

ƒ?oeGeorgetown?ƒ?? Bernadetteƒ?TMs eyebrows focus in on Genevieve. ƒ?oeSeriously?ƒ?? Bernadette always claims she was all about Georgetown for a while. But unfortunately they werenƒ?TMt all about her.

I try to decide if Warrenƒ?TMs mother is playing it genuine but I give up and drink some water and look around.

Genevieve fidgets in the residual way of someone who maybe used to chew her hair, but sheƒ?TMs good once she hits the free bread and she sort of floats off out of the conversation until her mother decides to broach the topic of what all of us plan to do with our lives.
And then Genevieve is smiling with just the bottom half of her face and thumbing around in her piece of garlic bread, batting her sticky black eyelashes at us all. Sheƒ?TMs prepping herself to go into tax law. She knows how to hit that question down. And itƒ?TMs more than the rest of us can.

ƒ?oeYou know youƒ?TMre going to want to give it some thought,ƒ?? Warrenƒ?TMs mother says, after looking me straight in my blank stare as she suggests I might want a career in child psychiatry. ƒ?oeYouƒ?TMre all moving toward a more concrete time of life and getting in debt so youƒ?TMre qualified for the mystery profession: thatƒ?TMs maybe not so suave.ƒ??

Genevieve says, ƒ?oeWarren doesnƒ?TMt know what heƒ?TMs going to do either.ƒ??

Warrenƒ?TMs mother looks at her son, whoƒ?TMs staring at Tobyƒ?TMs soupspoon, and says, ƒ?oeWell, Warren has some time.ƒ?? She scans the rest of us. Then she situates herself a little differently in her chair and says, ƒ?oeWarrenƒ?TMs mentioned you write very well, Toby.ƒ??

Toby swallows some bread too fast and says, ƒ?oeNo I donƒ?TMt really write very well at all actually.ƒ?? And then he looks confused.

ƒ?oeHeƒ?TMs addicted to writing,ƒ?? I contribute. ƒ?oeAnd so he has a facility. Weƒ?TMre not really positioned to judge how far that goes.ƒ??

She makes an equivocal noise and shrugs. ƒ?oeThatƒ?TMs a very nice skill: you should be willing to manipulate it.ƒ?? She says, ƒ?oeWarrenƒ?TMs also mentioned you perhaps coming to New York this summer.ƒ??

Toby says, ƒ?oeI never said anything.ƒ??

ƒ?oeBut you seem very nice and if your parents donƒ?TMt mind maybe it will be OK. I understand things arenƒ?TMt what they might be for you at home right now.ƒ?? She manages to catch Tobyƒ?TMs eye finally and smiles at him.

ƒ?oeIƒ?TMm being lined up for a summer job at the mail processing plant. My dadƒ?TMs working there too now and my grandfather thinks he can find another ƒ?inƒ?TM.ƒ?? Toby shrugs and Warren looks over at him for the first time since we sat down. Toby says, ƒ?oeI should probably do that.ƒ??

Warren looks away.

ƒ?oeWhy?ƒ?? Warrenƒ?TMs mother asks.

ƒ?oeYou said that when your parents move into your grandparentsƒ?TM place youƒ?TMll be sleeping on the pull-out sofa whenever youƒ?TMre at home,ƒ?? Warren says.

ƒ?oeYou can do whatever you want,ƒ?? Warrenƒ?TMs mother says, ƒ?oebut we have enough room, there are a couple spare rooms in our house, and if we can make things easier for you why not.ƒ?? She produces a slightly adjusted version of her usual smile and directs that at Toby as she tells him to think about it.

Genevieve rolls her eyes and starts working on a breadstick.

Kesia mutters to Bernadette, ƒ?oeI bet you wish Jeff was that well-lined.ƒ??

ƒ?oeHey,ƒ?? Bernadette hisses, ƒ?oeheƒ?TMs comfortable. And weƒ?TMre already from the same dopey little town in Arizona. Itƒ?TMs not like itƒ?TMs the great Moorhead-NYC romance.ƒ??

Kesia pouts a little, and then mutters, ƒ?oeThink Warrenƒ?TMs mother gets whatƒ?TMs going on with that?ƒ?? She watches Warrenƒ?TMs mother shift her gaze easily from Toby back to her plate and then to her son. ƒ?oeBecause Iƒ?TMm not thinking heƒ?TMd tell her. So Iƒ?TMm thinking no.ƒ??

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