Her Final Exam
Dreamed 2015/9/8 by Wayan
Another scorcher. Too hot to sculp, so I read & read. Finish Jo Walton's Philosopher Kings, about a Greek utopia set up but then abandoned by the goddess Athena. It goes a bit... weird.
Next: This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. Subtle. Femme straight cartoonist Rose and dykey little dancer Windy meet each summer at the beach--an Ontario resort lake. They're real friends despite the time-gaps and different temperaments. And they need that support as they witness a local boy and his friends shun & blame the girl he got pregnant... and as Rose's mom struggles with fits of rage and depression after a miscarriage she hid from Rose.
Their friendship evokes my childhood summers at Seattle's Juanita Beach and Penticton's Lake Okanagan--the way they should have been, with friends not just family. Because family can go crazy.
Powerful, subtle graphic novel. Maybe my favorite book of any kind this year.
I'm a member of a big food co-op like Rainbow. But not just food--classes.
I take a dance class there led by a sharp-faced girl with strong intelligence. I'm not sexually attracted but I look up to her.
The final exam she sets up goes like this: "We all have dreams we haven't dared realize. In some cases we haven't dared admit them to ourselves. Walk the aisles until you find such a dream inside; then find a classmate and express it--words, dance, I don't care. But let it out."
She walks the aisles too. As she does, I overhear her with others. A superb therapist--doesn't just listen but prompts and teases students toward acting on these dreams. This isn't the final--it's her coaching us for the real final, out in the world.
I need her advice. As I walk, realize I'm deeply sad and still find it hard even to frame my unrealized dreams. I seek health but after years of struggle Lyme still lingers. Must love wait for the cure? Is my life that restricted now?
Love? I don't even TRY to find it. Love requires honesty, sharing the truth of myself; and with most people I can't BE honest. Either incomprehension or they freak. My sensory, emotional and intellectual world's too different--and contains secrets about others that I pick up and can't honorably bare.
For example, as she focuses on others so intently, I notice she's let lapse a layer of disguise, is fully herself with us for the first time. As MY sixth sense reinterprets her now-fully-bared self, I see she's not human. She's a Greek goddess or demigoddess! Her sharp less-sexy face was a subtle illusion to keep men from chasing her while she pursued HER dream, to change our socioeconomic system--and this co-op is a seed.
Underneath her glamour-haze, she looks generally the same, with rather Balkan features; but now her eagle beak has softened to a rather feline button nose, her lips are fuller, and her eyes a bit wider-set. Still wavy blonde-brown hair with hints of red, which seems peculiar for a Greek goddess, but Zeus certainly slept around...
Oh, she's adorable--body AND aura. And smart enough for me, and inhumanly confident due to her heritage. Of course I'm drawn to her. As we all would've been. She had reason to hide.
Love? I don't have to have her reciprocate, don't have to have HER, but I do need someone LIKE her--that bright. And that's not common. And... they hide. As she does. As I do.
So I wait, and follow patiently, and make sure our paths cross at each aisle. Am I reluctant? Yes. Am I spoiled to insist I must confess to her, not a classmate? Seems that way, but no. I CAN'T fulfill the assignment with others; because part of what I must confess is my genius, including my sixth sense--and my current dilemma I'd have to tell is that I see our mentor's true nature! And I have no right to blab HER secrets.
So I follow, waiting for her to make time for me. I can't tell others. Has to be her.
She doesn't show up on the next aisle. Or the next. Left? At last, at the far end of the store, I find her sitting, tired, head on her arms, at a crowded table.
A friend chides her: "You forgot the time--that other dance class you're a student in started ITS final exam an HOUR ago."
She: "But I was needed here. And I got in the flow state. I don't regret it."
He: "But now you need time for yourself." And he's right, too.
My opportunity's gone. She needs to move on. I can't demand her help.
Did the dilemma she posed for me help indirectly? It did clarified that I'm not shy; I'm wary. Because, want to or not, I deal with other people's secrets.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
So... be me, speak my truth, no matter who it outrages? Who it outs? Or... keep my eyes open (including the third!) but my mouth shut?
Also.. gifted weirdos are often busy. The Greek Goddess is a student in a one class while teaching ours. If you want time, gotta speak up. And the answer may be no.
in 2016, This One Summer became the most-often-banned teen book in America. Congratulations Jillian and Mariko!
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