photocopier chats

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Monday evening.

"You're doing okay, right?" Her forehead creases slightly with concern.

"Now is the winter of our discontent. I'm perennially dissatisfied."

She laughs. "Only a couple of months to go."

"You seem particularly happy today," I respond. "What's up?"

"I'm going out with Prof. Z," she says. "We really need it."

"Have fun," I call out in farewell, as her black-clad shoulders head out the doorway.


Tuesday noon. My thesis seminar has been absolutely insane.

She spys me in the hallway. "You seem happy."

"We're discussing love at first sight with Prof. Z," I say. "It's fucking hilarious!"

She smiles. "In what context?"

"Boccaccio. Il Filostrato. The text isn't that funny, but the discussion is really rather good." Smiles all around.

"Good, Lindsey. Good."


The seminar ends. I drop by the office. She's photocopying something for her afternoon class.

"What's up?" she asks.

"I just finished reading this incredible Forster short story for Damrosch's class. It made me cry. You simply have to read it."

A sly smile and a bit of eyebrow. "Racy?"

"No, well, homosexual..." I relate the opening of the plot. "But not that explicit. Wrapped up in Christian language and theology in weird ways."

"Cool!" She's more excited now. "Forster is incredible. Have you read Maurice?"

My turn to smile that smile, the one that seems to mark a moment of private sameness. "Of course." Laughter.


Thursday afternoon. I stop by the office to check in. We are having printer issues, as always.

She's preparing for classes again, bent over the copy machine.

"'03. You heading home?"

"No, to the gym, and then to Damrosch's class," I say, a blissful smile on my face. "A most pleasant afternoon."

"See, it's not all bad all the time," she says.

"It has its moments, Margaret. It has its moments."