(a fragment)


Sitting at 7:45 in the morning at a white plastic table at the airport, eating an incongruous meal of Chinese vegetables, tofu, and brown rice purchased at the just-opened Asian kiosk for lack of any less artificial and more nutritional options, drinking a chainstore coffee from a styrofoam and plastic cup undoubtedly leaching cancerous chemicals, Harold Ober randomly glanced up at the dining platform above him— there seemed to be a raised dining area, a fact he’d scarcely noticed in his grogginess— and was struck by the image of a young girl sitting adjacently above him. At first he was completely taken aback, for a moment jarred in time and space, taken back in time-space. For this was someone he hadn’t thought about, someone who’d receded out of his mental space for decades. Lauren Sturges! She sat with an expression of cool repose, a pale, marble face, dark features and jet black hair, gazing nonchalantly at her laptop— which had a sticker on it that read “Alpha Pi is Good.” Her posture, the way she crossed her legs one over the other and dangled her ankles, the way she curved her hips as she sat, with both a cool repose and seemingly ceaseless anticipation, was exactly as— but, of course, it wasn’t her. He hadn’t spoken to Lauren Sturges for decades, and she was his contemporary, about 70 years old. Yet— could the fogginess and fondness of age be deceiving him?— this girl looked exactly, almost exactly as Lauren Sturges had during that— that wonderful, terrible, star-crossed and fatal year. Could it be her daughter— no, it would have to be her granddaughter. The same pale rosy blush on the cheeks over a marble façade, the cheeks a little over-rounded, the vaguest hint of a pleasing pudginess

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