Story Go Round 10/19/2001, round 3, #1


If it were a normal, quiet day in Littleton, would that be enough for you? Well, would it? I didn't think so. It wasn't enough for Lola either. She drew her hair up into a bun and secured the sun bonnet, the one Alan had given her, on top. She thought it looked good, though some of her friends teased her about it. It was Alan's gift to her, though, from his youth, and she loved to hear the story of his escape from the SS cronies.

Parasol or none? She couldn't decide with the possibility that excitement might await her outside around some corner in town, and left without. Have you ever tried to itch a scratch on your head with a bonnet on and a bun of hair in the way? Well, have you? Lola had, and each time it made her yearn for a taste of the world outside her little home town. Finally her parents had agreed she was old enough to travel by herself, and that seeing more of Holland would benefit her education. Free, now. Ha. Free. While conditioning and all the small town reserve of Littleton kept her dignified, she could feel nerves straining with vitality as she walked down the sloped, cobblestone street. Mrs. Collard, the Rector's wife, was meeting her at a darling coffeeshop. She could preen over some gay spring outfits on display. She was energized to do it. No more somber practicality.

There she was, all dressed up and, oh, somewhere to go. Mrs. Collard waved to her from the bottom of the hill. She had chosen an outdoor seat, perfectly suited to Lola's mood - open and airy, with as few restrictions as possible. She sat herself down on the bench from her friend and untied her bonnet.

"Oh Mrs. Collard, tell me about your uncle in America again," she pleaded. She loved to imagine the scenes on the postcard from California that she was given when Mrs. Collard spoke of him. California and Berkeley. Students were there from everywhere, all travellers. Can you imagine attending Berkeley? Well can you? I mean really? Crossing the ocean, learning to speak a foreign language, being surrounded by bright, energetic, newly-freed people your own age. Den Haag Universität was her parents' choice, truwens. But Alan had changed all that. The day he gave her the bonnet was the day she had confided her hopes to attend his alma mater.

He'd subdued that with his non-committal grin and said to her,"Pace yourself, sweetie." He always had the lingo for her, slouching in animated philosophical discussions with his thick rimmed glasses, sideburns, and cigarette. He had never observed a pace in his advances towards her. Imagining him very attached, she had taken fond, scolding control of his smoking in public places. He acted like a plaything for several months, a rubber mouse, and then he was gone. He was gone, but his influence lingered. Free of his non-committal grin, she had firmed up her plans for college.

Mrs. Collard paused. "Oh, really?" Lola said quickly, and felt the flush of embarrassment course through her. Resolving to pay better attention, she encouraged Mrs. Collard to continue relating the contents of her uncles's latest letter.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange