Undefined (Part 1)

The Years Spent at a Modern University

Here, have some readings of Shakespeare
some algorithms 

a chemical reaction
a six pack
and some sociological issues
Binge cram memorize
and remember to flush
For we come here to better ourselves
to become better people
better workers
better consumers
and are taught to guzzle
the theories and stories
the lives and equations
and the beer. 

Once upon to ever after 

By the time you read this it will be over. The story that is. The beginning, middle and end will be done. How can a story be told if there isn’t an ending for it. So we must have a beginning to the story for it to exist. But where does one begin to share the ideas and images that are rattling around in one’s brain–where did it come from, this story? Was it somewhere deep in the inner recesses of a failed artist’s mind, or is this the naked food you see just before you place it into your mouth, or before you place the needle in your arm? It first started as ideas and thoughts, reflections and desires and even experiences. They all began to jumble in on one another, colliding into each other and themselves until they began to become one idea, one image, one story. 

A story isn’t like liner notes or a news bulletin. It’s akin to poems and drama, for what are the stories we read but the plays of words and ideas within ourselves. 

I know how the story ends, but you do not, so there still must be a beginning. That is the most difficult place. An easy way around this would be to tell a story that doesn’t begin, yet without a beginning I really don’t need an ending. We get caught up in these starts and finishes and then lose sight of that middle part that makes a race a race or a story a story. It’s no good telling you that they came to college to slay dragons but left it as products of themselves. No, what matters is how we find out that dragons are often very real, but most often as insubstantial as the cold fog of one’s breath on an icy morning. 

So the beginning
It happened quite easily. The choice that is. A slew of letters and pamphlets. The flood of brochures and prospectives. The onslaught of forms and applications. Come and become a part of us. You’ll find your place here. Make a difference. Ranked in the top one-hundred colleges and universities by USA News and World Report –We have everything. We’re just what you’re looking for. We want you to make your mark with us. Choosing the right college is the most important decision you will make, second only to your choice of career. We need you. Your future, your education. Ranked in the top ten colleges and universities by Time. Explore yourself and your world here. We are everything you are looking for. 

She had boxes of the stuff. Think of all the trees that had died in order to bring such tidings to her. She felt guilty. She had simply checked a little box before taking a standardized test and now another ten acres of timber had fallen. At least the postage was metered. 

She imagined that the postman must think her family crazy to be receiving all of this propaganda. Who in their right mind would go to a school like Princeton or Vanderbilt or Stanford? Who in their right mind would pay for an education at Princeton or Stanford? Well, there were certainly many people who not only would, but could do so. She didn’t think she had quite the mind set–to travel eight or fifteen hours from her family, to live in another part of the country was an unsettling idea. But to have that name on her diploma was another matter. Perhaps she could apply. Perhaps she should apply. If she had what it took…there were always ways around the money issue. She would send in the applications. 

That was how is began. Wasn’t very simple really. Choosing the right college wasn’t that difficult for her, though, as there are many unnatural forces in this world. Hence, her undergraduate years were to be spent at her mother’s alma mater. Her mother was very pleased over this, not just because she could be vicarious for a whole four years or more, but it also meant she would be able to afford a replacement for their aging Toyota. 

So Caroline graduated from high school and went off to college. 

When we are young
The first dragon she remembered was Smaug. The image of him fast asleep on his golden couch glowing reddish in the deep night of a cavern. It must have been an uncomfortable setting to move into, really, for while dragons live for more centuries than one thinks, it would follow that the process of moving in would take a proportionately lengthy amount of time. To first settle down to sleep comfortably amidst all the pieces of gold and bits and bobbles of collected riches–to rest so that no annoying lumps or upturned chalices would poke upwards discomfortingly was a slow process. Eventually everything would have been smoothed down, and the great beast would be able to go about his business of resting up for whatever it was he would do in about a hundred years, for killing peasants and ravaging towns took quite a bit out of such a creature and it would be a while before he had the desire to exert that much effort again. So he would rest peacefully upon his store of precious artifacts, gems and, metals, –that was, of course, until an intruder entered. 

“Is that it?” Caroline asked pointing out the car window at a squat brick building.
“What does the sign say?” her mother asked.
“There isn’t one,” she replied.
“Yes, there is–on the right”
“Jones Hall.”
“Good, where do we park?”
“There’s someone waving cars in there.”
“Okay. I’ll wait here–you go in and find out about your room.” 

Caroline walked in the main doors and spotted the main counter of what must be the office. She walked over, and a small, brown-eyed girl behind the counter looked up and smiled.
“Hi, are you an entering freshman?”
“Yes, where do I go?” God am I that obvious?
“Right here. What’s your last name?”
“Stanley, Stanski, Stevens–Caroline?”
“Okay, your room is 6K. I need you to sign right there. Here’s the key. 6K–that’s on the sixth floor. Looks like your roommate’s already signed in. Any questions?”
“No, not yet.”
“Well, if you have any and you can’t find your RA, just come down here and ask one of us here.”

“Did you get your room?” her mother asked when she returned to the car.
“Yes, it’s on the sixth floor,” replied Caroline. “I wish Brian could’ve come.”
“Yes, that’d be nice….Why not take the computer up first.”
“Got it? Now who are these people?” her mother asked as a small group walked from the building towards the car.
“I don’t know,” replied Caroline. Oh–he’s cute.
“Hi, I’m Martin. You moving in to Jones?” asked one of the boys–tall, broad shouldered and with an equally broad grin.
“Yes,” Caroline managed to reply.
“Good–what room.”
“Is just this car-load your stuff, then?”
“Yes, but what are you–“
“Oh, sorry. We’re all MIA’s. Move In Assistants. Just tell us what you want us to carry and we’ll get it up to your room.”
“Well how nice,” her mother said, “Isn’t this nice Caroline? This wasn’t here when I came to Bradely.”
“You attended Bradely?” the boy asked.
“Yes, but long before your time. I my day there were no co-ed dorms–and a boy would never be allowed in a girl’s room.”
“Is that right?”
He picked up the large monitor box and began to follow the rest of the group into the building. Her mother followed carrying two feather pillows.
“Why don’t you stay with the car, Caroline,” her mother instructed.
“Hey Charlie, can you hold the door?” Martin called to a blond boy who had just stepped out of Jones. “Oh and if you could, there’re still a couple of boxes and crates down where we got this load. Can’t miss it–silver Toyota.”

“Hi, I’m Charlie.”
“Martin sent me out to help.”
“Yeah. I thought I would stay with the car and the rest of my stuff; otherwise my mother would never come out of there.” God only know what she is telling them.
“Good idea. Besides you can never be too safe around here.”
“Oh don’t get me wrong. Bradely’s fairly safe as far as colleges go. And most areas near campus are pretty safe, even at night.”
“Oh–do you live off-campus?”
“No, I live here in Jones along with Martin and the rest of the crew you saw–I’m a returning RA.”
“Really–an RA?”
“Yeah, fifth floor, north and east wings. Last year I had second floor south.”
“North and east?”
“Oh sorry, see each floor has three wings–that’s the south and that’s north, and behind is the east wing. I share the floor with Karl. Every floor is split that way–two RA’s I mean….They should be almost on their way down by now. Why don’t we take a load up.”
“Okay. I think we can manage what’s left in the trunk.”
“Here, I’ll get that.”
“No, I’ve got it. If you could grab that laundry basket. It’s pretty heavy. I should probably lock the doors.”
“It’s not that bad.”
“What floor did you say you’re on?”
“I think we’ll take the elevator then.”
Wanna hit that button.”
“Sure. Are you all–the people moving in–RA’s?”
“Oh no. Most are just returning residents. Most of the dorms aren’t like Jones. I mean a couple are full of grad or foreign students, others are all freshmen–sort of feeders for the frats and sororities. Jones is pretty mixed. A lot of returning students on each floor–here’s our ride. Hi Martin.”
“How you managing Charlie?” the dark-haired boy asked as he moved out of the elevator.
“Good, we left some stuff in the back though.”
“We’ll get it.”
“I’d better go with you as I locked the car doors,” Caroline said. I wonder what my mother told him.
“That’s all right Caroline, I’m here,” said her mother. “I’ll go with them–you take that load up and see the room. Your roommate is up there. She seems very nice.” 

“Hi, I’m Sarah Clark.”
“Hi, Caroline Stevens.” This room is huge, but where are the beds?
“Hey, that’s really cool.”
“Our names.”
“What about them?”
“Well your initials are C S.”
“And yours are S C?”
“Yeah, isn’t that neat!”
“Yeah.” Okay.
“Here, let me help you with you that. Is it going in the bedroom?”
“Yes, thanks.”
“If you don’t mind, I took the bottom bunk as really don’t like any sort of heights.”
“That’s fine.”
“Thanks–anything, even flights of stairs get to me. I’ve always been like that, ever since I fell from a teeter-totter when I was three. See the teacher who had playground duty was watching the dodge ball game and my friend and I were bouncing one another on the teeter-totter–you remember, when you would push off really hard and your partner would get the shock when they let the board hit the ground. Anyway–oh, where are you from?”
“Oh, which part.”
“West side.”
“I’m from Solon–family has only lived there for four years. We used to live down near Dayton–just a year though. Before that we were out in Washington. I was actually born in Portland–we moved when my father got transferred, but I haven’t spent much time here in this state–I was in school in New Hampshire most of the time.”

“Hello, I’m Professor Isaac and welcome to Math 201. My office phone and hours are listed on the syllabus as are the dates of the midterms and final examination. We’re going to start today by working through Archimedes principle of the limit.” 

“Hello, I’m professor Marnie Kerr and I will be teaching English 102. If you’re here for Physics 300 or Dance 05 you’re in the wrong room….” 

“Psychology is often thought of as the fourth science, as it incorporates both aspects of chemistry and biology yet deals with them on the level of neurological impulses. By studying human behavioral psychology we will be better able to understand the role it plays not just in the rising field of clinical psychology but in our everyday lives.” 

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Thu Sept 26 19:45:45 1991
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu;
Date: Thu Sept 26 19:45:45 1991
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: test (sorry it took so long) 

Sorry it took me so long write back. I’m still not sure if I am doing this right, but hopefully this message will make it back to you. My mother forwarded the message you sent to me. She didn’t sent it to me until yesterday–that was when my account was finally working. Hopefully this will get to you. Let me know.

“Cool! What a great room.”
“Oh? Hi–yeah it’s rather nice,” Caroline replied looking up from her Psychology book.
“Is this a triple?”
“Uh? Oh, no.” Who is this person?
“Is Sarah in?”
“She went down to check the mail.” Lovely, probably some other pledge.
“Ah. Do you mind if I–“
“No, go ahead.” Great.
“Oh sorry, I’m Elise–6F.”
“Caroline….How do you know Sarah?” I should just read this stupid chapter.
“We’re in Math together. Pre-calc….Sarah told me you’re a real genius with math.”
“Hardly.” The id– that explains a lot about Sarah…
“Well you were placed quite a bit higher than us.”
“Well I tested out of math, but I might major in it or physics….” Yes, Sarah definitely has an over-developed id. Or is that ego?
“Really–that’s cool.”
“That’s not usually the reaction I get,” Caroline mumbled.
“Well, not very many people go for something like that.”
“I guess. What’s your major?”
“I’m pretty much undecided. Business or maybe biology.”
“Business?” I didn’t know you could major in that.”
“My mother thinks it would be a good idea. She sees college as the way I can either get my Mrs. degree or become a corporate climber or a brilliant, rich doctor.”
“So what do you want to major in?” She’s funny.
“Oh, I don’t know…probably dance, but maybe art or drama. Any of them’ll be sufficient to drive my mother into hysterics.”
“You dance?”
“Well, no…I used to until my junior year–I started to run track.”
“Really? What high school did you go to.”
“Schylur–in Cinncinatti.”
“What events?”
“Just sprints. I wasn’t very good. And you…ran track?”
“Yeah, distance.”
“You look like a distance runner,” Elise observed.
“Do you still run?” Caroline asked.
“No, but I didn’t really run during the track season either. How about you?”
“Yeah, fact I’ll be running for Bradely this spring.”
“You’re kidding! That’s so cool.”
“Do you ever think of getting back into it?” Maybe I judged too quick.
“Me? Oh no–track was more of a social thing–I guess. Listen, not to change the subject or anything, but do you–I mean, you’re good at math and all–if it wouldn’t be too much to ask–if you don’t have the time or just don’t feel like it just say so, but do you think….”
“Sure, why not.”
“When though?”
“I’m not sure. Whenever you’re free. I really don’t need much help. It’s just the fact that I can’t understand my TA. I don’t even think he speaks English, and I’m afraid to ask him a question. I did once, but I don’t think–well that doesn’t matter–I just usually have had one or two questions about things.”
“Oh, if that’s all–if I’m here I should be able to help.”
“Gee, thanks.” 

When she walked to the study group the scattering of arguments and theories were swirling in her mind like the leaves that blew feverishly through the light of the street lamps. Unable to keep up with them she leaned back into the wind that ordered them onward into the darkness. Derivatives and integrals had once been firmly fixed in her tree of knowledge, now they too spun and danced like so many other ideas and thoughts and leaves.
A gust of wind blew against her, breaking her stride and rustling her thoughts back to her surroundings. She needed to get home quickly to make sure she had enough time to finish her other homework. It wouldn’t do to fall behind in the first week.

“Roger, does it matter if the function is even or odd?”
“No, just substitute u for f of x.”
“Hey Michael,” Roger asked, “did you get f of x as x equals the limit as x approaches infinity of x to the third plus pi x squared over x to the negative two plus six x?”
“So did I,” chimed Keith.
“Okay, how did you…”asked Caroline.
“Here try substituting x squared plus three for u instead of p,” suggested Steven.
“Oh! Then if I–got it.”
“Thanks. Have any of you started the last problem?”
“No, I haven’t,” said Keith.
“Me neither,” said Roger.
“I was wondering if it’s possible to take the integral of the equation and substitute the equation of a circle?”
“Don’t think so,” said Michael.
“It might, but what would the center coordinates be?” asked Steven.
“Try substituting u plus v squared and u squared plus v,” suggested Roger. 

“Do you need someone to walk you back?” Keith asked.
“No, I’ll be fine,” replied Caroline.
“Are you sure?” asked Michael.
“Yeah, it’s not far.”
“I’ll walk you back to Jones,” said Roger.
“I’ll be all right.”
“I know, but I’ll go with you. Keith, Michael–want to come?”
“I have to call Kate,” said Keith.
“I’ll come,” said Michael.
Where did Steven go?” Caroline asked.
“I think he went down to play on Matt’s computer,” said Michael.
“Ah. Well I’m ready.”
“I’m gonna go lock my door. I’ll meet you guys at the elevator,” said Michael.
“Let me get a jacket,” said Roger. 

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Sat Oct 12 08:35:15 1991
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu
Date: Sat Oct 12 08:35:15 1991
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: Re: from under a ton of work

Things are going well–I guess. Elise and I are going to head out to see the game at noon, so I’m up early to get all those little things I need to get done done, as I know very well I won’t feel like doing them later. I think I’ve got the hang of this e-mail thing. Before I forget, you were right about Doug. And he did see you when he was out on his little date. Although he didn’t tell me that he was out on a date, but then knowing him–well he wouldn’t acknowledge it and he’d say I was being jealous and overbearing and had to right to be as I was the one who ended the relationship. That’s basically the gist of his letter to me. He failed once again to admit his liking for sorority girls who are within walking distance. He wrote me an e-mail–obviously–which I got today with yours. He was all curious to know how we were. At least I took your advice and didn’t sleep with him. Once my computer gets a modem I won’t have to trudge over to the lab and will by much more prompt about this. So in about a week if my modem arrives from wherever Jack ordered it from. Which reminds me. Jack and my mother wanted to know if you want to spend Thanksgiving with us. If you have a better offer take it as you know how wonderful holidays are at Clan Stevens-McDermont. But I figured I ask knowing how things are with your parents. As for classes: I’m doing well in my Psych class, but it is just so boring. Math is middling and I may drown soon. English is pretty good. As for fish–none really, unless you count the guys in my study group who are pretty much minnows. There is one really nice guy here in my dorm, but he’s a junior and I don’t think he’d consider me. Training starts in a few weeks–for real that is which is good as it will get me away from the dorm a bit more. My roommate is driving me crazy. When she’s home she’s either watching TV or on the phone–typing of the wench, she just came into the room–was asleep until now–this is actually early for her to be up, but I’d best finish this and send this as she will probably wander over and read over my shoulder.
P.S. I just realized what a horribly un-grammatically-correct sentence that last one was. I’m sorry. I’ll try to be more clear.

Farther Back
She remembered when she was nine-years old and she decided she wanted to go to college. She remembered knowing that eventually she would. What she would do there was another matter. She just remembered the feeling she had when they went to her mother’s sorority board meetings. Walking across the grass with the old stone and brick buildings standing so permanently and wisely above her. The ivy climbing up the walls did not speak of festering parasites but of a gentle embrace. There was a knowledge and peace in those buildings. Amid the flurry of work and people something was there. 

The trees on the great grassy lawns of the main commons seemed so permanent, so aged, and yet so very alive. How many students had passed beneath their boughs? How many leaves had fallen to settle upon the paths and be blown by the hurrying wind of passing professors and harried students? It was a world of knowledge and pride. Of tradition and wisdom. 

So, like others her age, she made choice and was chosen. For a short time she would stand amid the oaks, the sycamores, and the elms that line the paved walks to feel the wind rush, seep, push, and flutter through her. 

When it changed
Smaug would have rested comfortably upon his precious couch for many years. But one day he awoke to a strange smell. Something had entered his den and just as quietly as it had come it had left. He did not know what manner of creature it was. It smelt of the lake and the river and forest, yet there was something beneath all of that–a sweet, gentle smell that he could not place. A smell of rich grass, hayseed cakes, smoke rings, and soft beds lingered so very faintly. Poor Smaug did not know what those smells were. He just knew that there were so very different from what he did know, so, more curious than anything else, he waited until the source of the scent returned. When the intruder ventured down to him again he was intrigued, so he bantered almost good-naturedly until his wit was abused and his anger kindled. 

“Caroline, someone named Martin is on the phone,” Sarah called.
“Thanks, I’ll be right there,” Caroline called from Elise’s room. “Just use point four negative eight as your center and you’ll have the equation.”
“You’re kidding. I can’t believe that’s it. My TA was using some weird denotation with the word lim. He went on and on about it like it was the most important thing.”
“Oh, it’s important, just not to this sort of thing. At least not with what the assignment was. I’ll be right back.”
“That was my last question, but come back if you want.”

“Martin?” Deep breath. Relax.
“Sorry it took me so long. I was helping a friend.”
“That’s okay. Listen a bunch of us are going out to see The Silence of the Lambs. Do you want to join us?”
“What time?”
“It starts at 8:20, but we’ll leave at about quarter to.”
“Sure, sounds like fun.” Oh my.
“Good. Oh, why don’t you invite your roommate or one of the freshers from you floor. I think Charlie is dying to meet a few.”
“See you then. I’ll come up and get you in about an hour then.”

“I think he likes you.”
“Caroline, darling, Charlie likes everyone,” Elise replied.
“Yeah, but…”
“I bet he’ll call you tomorrow.”
“I bet he won’t, although I will bet you that Martin’s going to ask you out again–and soon.”
“Think so?”
“He’s so cute.”
“Just be careful–it’s the cute ones you have to watch out for.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just don’t be so naive to forget that he is a year older than you and his intentions–well, they might not be as honorable as they seem.”
“Do you really think so?”
“No, but better be careful. Is Sarah home?”
“I have no idea? Sarah? I’ll check the bedroom.”
“No–and her coat isn’t on the door–she’s probably over at the Delta house or at some party.”
“On a Thursday?”
“They start early.”
“Didn’t know that. No wonder she’s always complaining about math class.”
“Either it’s too much homework or her lack of time or her last quiz grade.”
“Sounds like Sarah. Listen do you mind if I check my e-mail really quick?”
“No go ahead. Can I put a CD in.”
“You wouldn’t believe what she said yesterday in class.”
“We were going over the Pythagorean theorem–pretty basic with sines and cosines. U2? No, never mind. Anyway, Sarah raised her hand to ‘inquire what our lecturer had meant by the inverse of the cosine being secant. For according to her notes it had to be only negative as cosines are always positive but when multiplied by negative one to find the inverse they become negative.’ How about Rhythm of the Saints?”
“That’s a pretty good one.”
“Would you believe our TA even managed to keep a straight face, but I don’t think he understood exactly what she said.”
“Oh, do you have any homework this weekend?”
“Nope, I managed to get it done last night while you were out running. By the way, do you think that if I get an e-mail account I could use your computer to check it every so often.”
“Sure, in fact if you want I can try to set up your account from here.”
“Can you do that?”
“Yeah, but I’m not sure how. Just let me check my mail real quick. Pat or my mother might have written.”
“Okay….How about REM?”
“Sure. Nope, no mail from my mom, but my brother Brian wrote and Roger. Just don’t play ‘Stand’–I really can’t stand that song and its all Sarah played one night.”
“From my study group.”
“Oh. Which one is he?”
“The hockey player.”= “Ooh?!”
“Oh this is good. The study group was going to meet tonight, but they couldn’t get a hold of me or Keith so they want to meet tomorrow after the game Saturday. He says he called twice tonight and talked to Sarah. Good of him to write considering her receptionist skills. Now let’s see if I can figure out how to do this for you.” 

“Morning,” Sarah mumbled a she stumbled from the bedroom into the study room. “What time is it?”
“Quarter past nine,” Caroline replied. The dead hath arisen.
“Uhh–shit I have a class at ten.”
“Well I’m leaving for breakfast and then class. Oh, did anyone call for me last night?”
“No. When do they serve breakfast to?”
“Nine thirty. So how was the party?” You little bitch.
“Shit. Oh– it was all right.” 

“Is Caroline there?”
“Hi, it’s Steven.”
“Roger and I were wondering if you and Elise would want to go to the game with us?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t. Elise and I are going with some people from our dorm.”
“Oh okay.”
“Sorry–you’re coming to study group tonight aren’t you?”
“Well, I’ll see you there then?”

“Hi mom.”
“Caroline! How’s school?”
“We watched the game on TV. It was pretty good. Looked kind of chilly though.”
“No, it’s pretty nice out. How’s everyone.”
“Oh, we’re fine. Jack is busy trying to put up some bookshelves and your grandmother is here visiting and giving him her opinions–Brian and Missy went out to see a movie–I was about to start dinner. What’s new–have you heard from Pat or Doug?”
“Yes–both, over e-mail.”
“How are they doing.”
“Pat’s doing really well. He’s thinking of working for a friend of his brother’s next year in Peru.”
“And his parents?”
“They’re not speaking to him really.”
“Oh, that’s a shame. Did he say if he’s going to come for Thanksgiving?”
“Yeah, he said he’d even bring the pumpkin pie.”
“That’s sweet. How’s practice been?”
“Pretty easy–we’re only officially running three times a week until December.”
“And classes? Have you managed to decided on a major yet?”
“No, but next term I should be taking some interesting classes so maybe….”
“What classes?”
“Well probably another writing class, biology and my friend Elise wants me to take a Theater class with her.”
“Is that it?”
“Well yes, Coach Linden is making sure we only take three classes as practices and the indoor season are going to take up more time.”
“Hold on a second, Jack wants to say something.” 

“Hi Sarah, is Caroline in?” Martin asked.
“She’s on the telephone,” replied Sarah.
“Oh, well if it’s okay I’ll just wait.”
“Whatever. I’m out of here.” 

“Okay, I’ll talk to you later then….Yes….Okay…..Love you too. Bye.”
“Just a minute. Oh-hi-Martin. Sorry–I was on the phone with my mother. I didn’t know you were here. Did Sarah leave?”
“Yes. I have a question, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are things, I mean do you two, well…?”
“No, we’ve had a few problems. In fact it looks like she’s moving out soon.”
“So what can I do for you?”
“Oh, I came up to see if you wanted to come to party with me tonight.”
“Well, I’d love to, but I was just about to go down for dinner with Elise and that after that I have to leave for my study group and I don’t know when we’ll be done.”
“What time is the party.”
“It starts around nine. But listen, why don’t you just give me a call from where you’ll be and let me know then. That’s if you think you may be done before nine.”
“Actually that sounds good. We shouldn’t be more than a couple of hours.”
“Well call me around eight or so then.” 

Caroline left the commons early so that it would still be light when she walked across campus to meet the study group. The wind was brisk with a chill of autumn and the promise of the coming winter. Integrals and derivatives had been blowing around within her mind for weeks. Now they were being replaced my matrices and more formulas and proofs. Gone were the simple proofs of parallels angles and polar coordinates. Gone still were the days of Saturdays spent at a park waiting for a gun to sound and her race to begin. She wished sometimes that she could have stayed in high school. Stayed in the math and the sport she knew. Not to have graduated but to have continued on and on, mile after mile, problem after problem. It was saddening to think that this year there had not been a race through fields and woods.
The trees overhead rustled their bright leaves as if in almost a sad agreement. They too wished they could have stayed green with promise and life. Soon they would fall and be left to swirl in the wind; next year others would take their places.
At least in the Spring there would be the track season and she wouldn’t be bogged down with math. Perhaps if she trained hard enough and ran well she would be invited to run next fall. Besides most of the girls on the Cross Country team were upperclassmen. If she could just manage through this winter. 

“In the last homework problem what was the co-efficient for y z squared–was it four.”
“Then y squared is taken to the negative and it’s z to the negative third?”
“Yes–wait I think–Let me see that.” He leaned over her shoulder.
“It’s here.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Okay, thanks.”
“Are you done?”
“Just about–I still need to recopy my answer for the third problem.” Oh! Uhmm…his hands are strong.
“Wow, your shoulders are really tense.”
“I know–that feels nice.”
“What is that?”
“That’s a knot.”
“A knot of what?”
“Practice this week was easy…umh…but we started lifting.”
“When is you next meet?”
“What?–that’s four months away.”
“Season doesn’t start until the spring, but everyone is expected to train with those running the Indoor season this winter.”
“Is that another knot?”
“Uhm–yes–that’s nice….Michael, do you know what you’re going to major in?”
“Probably Sociology and maybe German or Math.”
“Keith is Bio-Chem and Math?”
“Yeah–Keith is crazy.”
“What about Roger?”
“Think it’s going to be mechanical.”
“Oh–umh…that’s another knot. You can use a bit more pressure to get at it.”
“Roger, Steven, and I are thinking of rooming together next year.”
“Do you know where?”
“We’ll probably find an apartment. Do you know where you be living next year?”
I really haven’t thought about it. I’m sure I’ll figure something out. It’s not even end of the first quarter.”
“Let’s see, number three, the derivative of f of g is equal to….”
“Is your roommate moving out?”
“I hope so.”
“Is she that bad.”
“Well let me put it this way–umh…a little higher– it’s gotten to the point where we don’t speak and she just leaves her things laying around and I move them to a pile that’s about the size of a small cow.”
“Sounds enchanting.”
“It’s starting to smell enchanting as well– when she uses the microwave the dishes sit out for days. Not to mention her wonderful abilities to wreak havoc with my notes and computer.”
“Where is she going to move to?”
“Well, she’s trying to get a room in her sorority house, but she may just end up living down the hall.”
“Will you get another roommate?”
“Hopefully Elise will get to move in. Umh…a bit lower there’s another knot.”
“Yeah, I found it.”
“Now is that a x squared or x to the fifth?”
“Number three? Should be squared.”
“Thanks. What time is it by the way?”
“Quarter to eight.”
“Ouh–I have to get going.”
“I told a friend I’d try to go to a party with him if we got done early enough.”
“Ah–uhm, I was wondering.”
“There! I am officially done.”
“Look, Caroline, I was wondering….”
“Well, would it be all right if, well….”
“If I?” 

“I–We. I mean he.”
“Well–Michael, when he and I were, I mean I was at study group–after study group when I was finishing my homework. Well we were talking and he was giving me a shoulder rub and I guess well, he sort of kissed me.”
“You responded how?”
“I guess I kissed him back.”
“It was….?”
“Well I sort of left.”
“Martin was waiting for me. Well he is waiting for me–I mean I said I’d try to go to a party with him.”
“Well what should I do?”
“It sounds like you are going to go to a party with nice, very good-looking, older guy after being kissed by a very nice, younger guy.”
“I’m only teasing.”
“Why don’t you come with us?”
“Caroline I’m not gonna be a third wheel.”
“I could see if Charlie’s coming? Did he ever call?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, guess you won the bet. Well, will you at least help me get ready?”
“Sure, seeing as I seem to be fated with the rest of the freshmen nerds to spend my weekend nights down in the lounge watching old movies or, worse, studying.”

“What ‘d you think of this one?” Caroline asked.
“Skirt’s too long. You look like you’re fresh out of some Catholic school. Don’t you have anything that’ll show off your legs?”
“What about this one?”
“Is it black or navy?”
“Better–phone’s ringing. Do you want me to get it?”
“Would you?”
“Sure. Hello?”
“Hi. Uh-Caroline?”
“No, may I ask who’s calling.”
“Oh! This is Charlie. Your roommate said you might be there.” 

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Sat Nov 16 01:32:27 1991
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu
Date: Sat Nov 16 01:32:27 1991
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: Re: the mountains continue 🙂 

Dear Pat.
What news! I had a big fish nibble at my hook. Martin–that’s his name, Elise and I and a few others went to a movie, but after the movie when we got back to the dorm we went for a walk–just the two of us and we started talking and talking and before I knew it we were still sitting outside in the hall outside of my room and it was two o’clock in the morning. He’s so nice–he played soccer in high-school and he’s a Food Science and Nutrition major. It’s so weird–we just sat there and talked about everything. And to answer it before you ask–no, I don’t know if he kisses like a fish as he didn’t make a move and Sarah told me that he has a serious girl friend back in their hometown. They’re both from Solon. I am thankful that Thanksgiving is next week, as I really need a break from Sarah. Things aren’t much better. Although she’s not opening my mail anymore and she can’t screw with my computer. Sorry to hear about your car. Hope your insurance doesn’t total it. If you do need help covering a down payment for a new one Jack said they’d be more than willing to lend you the money. I told my mother and Jack that you are coming for dinner. They’re really excited as this will be the first year since the wedding that we’ll have more than just the four of us. Brian is bringing Missy–the girlfriend I haven’t met–and my uncle and aunt will be there as well as my grandmother. Should be quite a crowd. I’m going to actually go out this weekend. Elise talked me into going to a club off campus. She argued that as conditioning is almost over this will probably be one of the last weekends when I don’t have to worry about having to get up and run the next day and team regulations don’t go into effect until after Thanksgiving. I need to get to bed though before I get up for classes, so I will see you next Wednesday.

p.s. I discovered the wonders of cut and paste, so will send along the poem you asked for. It’s not done yet. It still needs something, but let me know what you think. 

A fragile butterfly rests in my hand.
Its wings spread open, then fold closed
–each passing second its life slips by,
yet it lives for the moment, and so do I.
So I fail to see the eagles above the lands,
as their trees topple to the ground
–when all are gone where will they fly?
should I hope to imagine that they can’t die?
They could fly to the frozen lands
where the gypsies of the barrens
will teach them to sing to the moon up high,
yet yearning for the sun with a painful cry.
But the sun is uncaring, unfeeling, beyond
–she rests in the desert with the bones
of those long dead beneath her
and a dried bed.

“Are we ready?” Elise asked.
“I think so. How’s my hair?” Caroline asked.
“Looks good. Here–for you.”
“Marcie M. O’Connor?”
“Yeah, I’m Clare Sembridge.”
“Where did Charlie get these?”
“Friend of a friend.”
“This doesn’t look at all like me.”
“Just say you lost weight. Besides it’ll be dark and crowded.”

“What is that?” Caroline asked.
“Budweiser. Here–try,” Elise offered.
“Oh! Phflt–disgusting. Does it all taste like that?”
“No, some of it is worse. Didn’t you ever drink in high school.”
“Not really. I was always training.”
“What about when you went out with Doug?”
“Doug liked wine-coolers.”
“What a wuss.”
“I know.”
“How long did you date him?”
“Almost a year and a half.”
“And you never slept him?.”
“No–when did you?” Caroline asked.
“Sleep with a guy? Never–not yet.”
“But I thought?”
“Oh, I’ve had sex–but’ve never actually slept with a guy. Maybe tonight….”
“What? With Charlie?”
“Isn’t that a bit fast?!”
“If I get drunk enough who knows.”

“Have you found one you’d like to take home yet?” Elise asked.
“No–they all sort of melt together. I can’t tell, can’t tell one from another.”
“Happens I guess.”
“Every time I find one that looks good I take another drink and he, he moves. Then, then I can’t, can’t figure out which one he was.”
“Poor baby. We’ll have to have to get you home soon.”
“Oh, but I’m having fun.” 

“Yes Caroline?” she replied from the other bathroom stall.
“I think I’m–I think I’m drunk.”
“That’s okay.”
“I can’t find my underwear.”
“It’s there somewhere.”
“Oh, there they are–you were right.”
“Ah uh.”
“But you were supposed to be drunk with me.”
“I am, I mean I was–I threw up. Probably still am. Done?”
“Yeah. I think I’ve peed an ocean. But you’re not drunk.”
“I am so.”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes–see when you’re drunk your inner personality comes out.”
“Yeah–I get really really, intensely rationally minded. Now come on–you stay right here. I’m going to find Charlie and we’ll all head back to the dorm.” 

“Martin” Oh Shit. “–how are you?”
“Who are you here with?”
“Elise, but she–she went to find Charlie.”
“Oh. How long have you been here.”
“Since around ten. Do you want to dance?”
“No, I’ll just stay with you until Elise gets back, how’s that?”
“Sure. That’s okay too.”
“I tried calling to see if you wanted to go to a movie but you weren’t in.”
“Sorry, Elise and I went out to eat with Charlie and his friend Gary.”
“Oh–how was that?”
“Is Gary here?”
“No, he’s gay.”
“Yeah. Cute too. Always the case.”
“Oh–just the guys I think are cute are either too gay too old too far out–far out of my league or too taken.”
“It can’t be that bad. You’ve only been here a few months.”
“I know…I think I’ve just had too much to drink.”
“I have this really strange–strange desire to throw myself at some guy and go with him…or maybe I could take him home with me.”
“Don’t worry I won’t let you.”
“Oh, you’re no fun. What if–what if I threw myself at you?”
“I’d respectfully decline.”
“oh. See what I mean–too taken.”
“Come on–Now don’t go walking off. I’m going to get you home. Come on.”
“What about Elise?”
“I see her. I’ll just go tell her. Stay here.” 

“Keys?” Martin asked.
“They’re right here.”
“Let me have them.”
“Do you need help to your bedroom?”
“I don’t know.”
“Come on–let’s get you there.”
“Did I ever tell you how sweet you are?”
“About twenty times since we left the bar.”
“Oh, sorry–did I tell you how cute you are.”
“Yes, about thirty times–come on get your shoes off.”
“Oh, well I only can say those things knowing that you are a hooked fish.”
“You know–taken.”
“You mean…?”
“Yeah dating someone.”
“Caroline, I don’t know where you heard that, but it’s not true. I mean I was until this year….”

“No, it’s all right,” Caroline said
Martin looked thoughtfully at Caroline and slowly moved in to kiss her. His lips brushed her as he took a breath of anticipation.
“I’m sorry–I think I’m going to throw up.” Caroline said and she bolted for the toilet. 


This is Biology 200. It is an advanced introductory course to the life-sciences designed for those interested in pursuing majors in the various disciplines such as Genetics, Marine or Micro Biology or even Entomology and the Veterinary Sciences. I will be your lecturer. And the individual seated here in the front row will be the TA’s for this classes. Each of you has been already assigned into one of the various recitation periods, so if you have any questions pertaining to the nature of the class please ask them during that time. So, now without wasting anymore time I will go over this weeks assigned chapters–The anatomy and functions of a cell.” 

I’m Doctor Howard and this will be English 202.
This class isn’t just for English majors, but it fulfills the third year writing course requirement. It is geared primarily for those who will go on to the three hundred and four hundred level English courses, but I hope that won’t lead to any sort of intimidation amongst any non-majors. I believe Literature is often misrepresented as something untouchable to those outside of its study, so the first work we will be reading is a collection of poems by the American writer, Gary Snyder.

Welcome to Theater 05. This class is designed to fulfill the General Humanities Curriculum Requirement by giving students a broad understanding of the history, terminology, conventions, and styles of theater. Theater as we know has its origins over three thousand years ago and continues up to today in the traditional form of live performances of written text as well as various off-shoots of performance art, the cinema, etc. We will be only concentrating on the more traditional aspects of theater though, due to the shortness of time. 

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Mon Jan 13 15:24:54 1992
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu
Date: Mon Jan 13 15:24:54 1992
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: Re: rest of poem? 

I don’t have much time, but I took your advice and tried rewriting that poem I sent you. It was fun working at Sears again, but thank goodness this time it was only for three weeks! We have to find somewhere else to spend our free time and get paid.

A fragile butterfly rests in my hand.
Its colors should enchant me.
Its movements should bewitch me.
Yet I let it fly to the winds.
and each passing second
its life slips by,
As we live
for the moment.

“Happy Valentines Day.”
“Oh, Martin they’re beautiful.”
“Like you.”
“uh…thank you.”
“Are you ready?”
“Yes, but where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“Do I get a hint?”
“You’ll see.” 

“So what was wrong with that?
“Oh I don’t know Elise, I mean he tried to make it so perfect. I just thought, well I thought it would be different.”
“You didn’t then.”
“Didn’t what?”
“Have one!”
“I don’t know.”
“That you didn’t.”
“How do you know?”
“Trust me. You’d know.” 

“At least come with me Caroline.” Elise pleaded.
“All right–but I’m not going to audition.”
“Just be my support crutch. Please?”
“Did you tell Charlie you’re auditioning?”
“No, I don’t want to get his hopes up. He’d start going on and on about my name in lights. Either I’ll surprise him or I’ll crash and burn.”
“Are you ready to walk over?”
“I think so, how’s my hair?”
“Pull it back–let them see your face.” 

“Is Caroline there?”
“This is me.”
“Hi Caroline, this is Steven.”
“Steven–how are you?”
“Good. How was your Christmas?”
“Good. I got to see my father and his parents, which was nice. And my brother was home from grad school. How was your break?”
“It was okay. Did the annual Chinese and three movie fest Christmas day with some friends from high school.”
“Sounds fun. Sorry I haven’t talked with you in so long. Been so busy. With midterms coming up on top of time-trials….”
“When is your first meet?”
“Actually we run the first invitational here–three weeks from this Saturday.”
“Are you running?”
“Yes, most likely. Hopefully I’ll be seated in the mile–most likely I’ll just be in two of the B relay teams.”
“Can anyone come and watch?”
“Yeah sure–it’ll be in the stadium.”
“Okay. Oh, listen–I wanted to know if you and Elise would want to go out with us for Indian?”
“I’d love to, but I’ll have to check with Elise. I think she is studying for a midterm. Bout what time?”
“Around seven?”
“Okay, sounds good.” 

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Fri Feb 28 18:39:26 1992
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu
Date: Fri Feb 28 18:39:26 1992
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: Re: rushing around like a chicken 

I can hardly believe here are just three weeks left to this quarter. First time-trials are right after finals, and with exams looming and races I’m finding it difficult to concentrate. Martin is wonderful– always making sure I eat and sleep. I have this annoying tendency to want to work right through dinner, but he always comes up to get me if Elise hasn’t already. This term’s classes have been pretty easy. Probably because I don’t have to worry about Math anymore. Only class that requires a lot of thought is English. Besides that–practices have been really hard. We’ve been either out on long runs or doing track work every day. Add to that an hour in the weight room every other day and I’ve been really tired out. I’m not always getting my eight hours of sleep, but that’s Martin’s fault.

“How was it?” Elise asked
“Sorry I couldn’t come.”
“That’s all right. Roger and Michael ended up not being able to come and Keith brought Kate along. But the old study group may get together sometime soon to see a movie and you’d be welcome to come.”
“But they’re all math nerds.”
“I’m certainly not.”
“Okay math geniuses.”
“That I certainly am not.”
“You’re a cute charity case dear.”
“Hey! I wasn’t that bad.”
“No, but those guys were a bit more than numerically interested in you.”
“Be serious.”
“I am serious. Case in point–Michael.”
“Let’s not talk about that one.”
“Why not?”
“Well we don’t talk.”
“We don’t talk.”
“That’s a shame. He’s a nice boy. Well, what about Steven?”
“Steven? No…I don’t even think he know what girls are for.”
“Oh really?”
“Yes really. He’s never dated, never kissed a girl, never looked at a girl that way.”
“And you know this because?”
“He told me.”
“Right. Okay–have you heard from Roger lately?”
“He’s doing okay. His wrist is finally healed from that hit he took at the game we were at, but he’s not going to get much time on the ice with only two games left this season.”
“I haven’t heard from Michael much. His last e-mail to me about two weeks ago said that he was immersed in the politics of The Beacon. He said he was thinking of trying for Assistant Editor for next year.”
“Exciting.–to each their own I guess. Hell, I’m going to be on stage next term. You’re going to be running. Martin will be watching you and playing council president. And Charlie will be overseas.”
“He’s going?”
“Not until August.”
“Are you going to go then as well.”
“I still need to find a major. I’ve been told that ‘undecided’ doesn’t look very good on the applications.”

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Thu Mar 12 08:42:12 1992
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu
Date: Thu Mar 12 08:42:12 1992
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: Re: finals can drowned one 

Sorry I won’t get to see you over break. The schedule for training means I won’t be going anywhere. Our first invitational is this weekend, but it’s not like back home. We’re all so segregated according to events and ability. I’m one of only two freshmen running varsity–the only distance runner. Everyone is pretty nice, but they’re all doing their own thing. We run and talk together at practice, but after that–well it’s not like back home. I must admit that I’m kind of envious of your semester systems are so much shorter than these quarters. You’ll be home in just over another month and I still have to wallow through almost three more. Ick! I need to get back to this last English paper–just one more writing class to go and I’ll be done with all but one of my humanities requirements. Yeah! That’s it for now from here.


Welcome to Biology 211. This class is a continuation of Biology 200. Unlike the 201 which is the direct continuation of 200, we will be focusing on the genetic components of human biology. For studying purposes there is a packet of relevant terms and their definitions available at the bookstores….. 

Professor Benchley is in Bath, England. English 303 will meet Wednesday at the scheduled time in 235 Carl Hall. 

Este es español dos cintos uno–conversacíon. Nosotros hablarémos solo en español durante toda la clase. Hora yo veré quien es aquí. 


Sometimes all the shouting within one’s mind stops and a frightening silence takes hold. A moment in space becomes a point in time from which one can see not just what is behind or before, but what is around you. Action versus meditation. Which is more useful to us. Should we act, and if we do are we nothing more than great beasts–worms of desire–each of us a Smaug hungry for gold and flesh. Or should we think and ponder, create and rationalize our world. Do we joy in exchanges of wit or in the thrill of a show of strength? Do we riddle and parley or destroy and conquer. Is this our nature? Are we our own dragons? 

Smaug was destroyed. Drowned beneath the lake’s waters after an arrow pierced his heart. An arrow directed by the messenger who advised the archer of the un-encrusted blemish, yet it had been the intruder who had discovered this weakness. The intruder directed the arrow that flew straight and true to destroy the dragons horrible wickedness. So what Smaug had smelt when he awoke in his cavern– that strange gentle smell–was death. 

“Tired?” Steven asked.
“Good race.”
“Thanks. You haven’t seen Martin have you?”
“He was here for your race and then he went over to talk to someone. Are you done?”
“Yeah, but I have to stick around until the mile relay. But this is only a dual meet–won’t be that long.”
“You came in fifth?”
“Yeah–third Bradely varsity runner.”
“There’s Martin. I’ll be back in a minute.

From cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu Fri Mar 10 19:53:21 1992
From: cstevens@guardian.ucs.bradun.edu
Date: Fri Mar 10 19:53:21 1992
To: c8reiger74@mcsa.mox.cwru.edu
Subject: Re: rejected 

I know that I have been terrible about writing, but I really have been busy, and I’m so far behind I don’t think I’ll ever catch up. My times are coming down though, and Coach Linden has already spoken to the cross country coach about me running next fall. I’ve been thinking about minoring in English. The class I’m in now I my last writing class, but it’s really fun. It’s a seminar class on children’s literature. We’ve read The Hobbit and Alice in Wonderland and we’re going to read Peter Pan and then a few other stories. I’ll tell you all about it when you come down for this Wednesday’s meet. Now though I’m coming to go to bed before I crash on the keyboards. Oh–Elise says hi. She’s nagging at me to get to bed before I fall asleep right here. So bye for now.

“Martin, I think Elise and Charlie are going to break up,” Caroline said.
“What makes you think that?”
“It just seems–well, Elise isn’t going over with him this summer for one thing, and well….”
“Things might still work out.”
“I hope so.”
“At least we don’t have those worries. Come here.”
“Just come here. I have something.”
“I picked this out for you last week, but it wasn’t ready until this morning. I had them size it for you.”
“Martin you shouldn’t have.”
“Yes I should–Caroline, I love you–I wanted to give you something that could show you just a little how much….Caroline?”
“It’s beautiful but–” Oh my god.
“No buts.”
“It’s just.” What do I do?
“I love you.”
“I just…” Do I?
“I love you Caroline.”
“I…” I don’t know.
“I love you.”
“I…I love you too.” 

“Steven!” Caroline called.”
“Hi–where’s Martin?”
“He had a council meeting–but you came.”
“Yeah, Roger and Keith said they were going to come, but Keith got called for an interview. “
“I know–co-op for the summer.”
“Yeah, and Roger I can’t seem to find. Oh there he is-“
“Did I miss your race?” Roger asked as walked towards them.
“No–I’m so glad you came.”
“How is Martin?”
“He’s fine. How’s Michael?”
“Good. Did you hear about Keith and Kate?”
“Yeah, seems she’s interested in one of her TA’s who is equally as interested in here.”
“You’re kidding. How old is he?”
“Close to ancient I imagine. How are you Steven?”
“How about you Roger?” Caroline asked.
“Yes and women?”
“Oh, well that’s a long story named Jessica. Hey is that from Martin?”
“Yes, he gave it to me last month.”
“So things are still good then?”
“Yeah–Listen, I need to warm up. My race is coming up, so I’ll see you guys afterwards.”
“Sure. Good luck sweetie.”
“Good luck, you’ll do fine, you always do.”
“Thanks, both of you.”
“How about you Steven? Have you managed to–“

“Will you read this Steven and let me know what you think?”
“Sure. What is it?”
“My conclusion for an English paper. With its stories of Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Christopher Robin, and the other inhabitants of the Hundred-Acre Wood, The House at Pooh Corner combines the imaginary world of a child’s fancy with undercurrents of adult wit….The House at Pooh Corner does not try to discuss any timely issues, but simply shows how real people often behave and view the world. Eeyore is eternally pessimistic, yet Pooh never notices. Rabbit and Owl, who think they are gifted with wonderful powers of thought, are really no smarter than our Bear of Little Brain. Kanga, in her motherly way is probably the only member who comes closest to Pooh in terms of simple wisdom. Wisdom that comes from keeping life simple. This wisdom is what makes Pooh unique.”
“It’s okay.”
“I’m not really one to judge. I mean what do I know about English–I’m a physics major.”
“It’s a conclusion.” 

Part II 

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