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I couldn't be more proud

Posted: 30 Nov 2022, 09:26
by admin
When I called Dolores to tell her the news, my hand was shaking like a teenager asking a secret crush for a date.Though we hadn’t spoken in months, I had thought of her continually, rehearsing again and again our hard conversation and how I had missed the truth she tried to convey.Her voice over the phone lines was aloof, more formal, but the main emotion her tone expressed was mild surprise at hearing from me.When she asked why I was calling, I told her I would rather not tell her over the phone.I said I was hoping I could come by and see her, promising it would not take long.When I arrived, Dolores did not step out of the house for our usual peripatetic walk.She greeted me cooly and invited me in.Dolores returned from the kitchen with freshly brewed coffee in white cups on white saucers.When I told her I was resigning from my position at the university, her face fell.In my trauma of trying to decide what to do about my professorship, to leave or stay, I never considered whether Dolores would miss me.She asked if I realized I was throwing away my career as a mathematician.I shook my head, telling her I was certain I’d keep up the mathematics on my own.She didn’t reply but her eyes registered her skepticism.When she asked if I had thought ahead a few years to fully understand the consequences of this move, I was startled.Though we hadn’t been in touch with one another, I was certain she would praise me for finding the courage to leave.Hadn’t that been the point of so many of our conversations over how the corporations and the military owned the universities?I told her none of that mattered.It was over, I was leaving.She leaned back on the sofa, taking it in.A silence of defeat replaced her heated interrogation.I knew this would be the last time we spoke, so I needed to tell her the truth.I was so naïve, I said.I cringe when I think of how I argued against you.It took me so long to see. I waited for her to look up, but she kept her eyes averted.I went ahead and said it anyway.You breathed Pythagorean fire into me.I’ll never be the same.I was hard on you, she said.I was so pigheaded.She met my eyes briefly.When she looked down again, I noticed the delicate spidery lines in her eyelids, the tracings of old age.She held the skin around her lips in a tight bunch.You have avoided the prisons of economism and militarism, she said gently.And you are finding your way out of scientism.You should know these temptations and others, even more virulent, will continue.It is not going to be easy.Constant vigilance will be required.The shrunken industrial university is too small for your vision, but do not slide into the fantasy of thinking there is an ideal institution out there somewhere.No matter where you go, forces that run industrial society will try to impose a smaller version on you.To avoid discouragement, keep your high ideals before you every day.I was already late to pick up Thomas Ian from his playgroup.I wanted to launch forth into one of our long conversations, but that was no longer possible.To break it off, I stood up abruptly.Dolores walked with me without speaking.She moved out to the middle of the road in order to guide me past the voluminous laurel hedges.Once more, the thought that I might not ever see her again entered my mind.She pressed her lips back against her teeth in what was her smile.Just as I was about to accelerate away, she lifted her hand up and walked quickly toward me.I rolled down the window and she leaned her elbows against the car door.I apologize for my poor response to your announcement of your daring move.It irks me that in that moment I could only think of myself.Please understand that my initial lack of enthusiasm does not express my true feelings.