George Pollock State KidIssue 58
The Price of Ambition
Billy called Sister Francis Helen and she agreed to meet him at their usual spot, on a bench in the main quadrangle of Fairview University. Without preliminary, he handed her his retyped manuscript and bolted. He didn't want to be sitting there while she read hiswork, like a dog at the table watching its master's every move in hopes of a morsel.It was late afternoon on a summery day in July. Leaves on great maples rustled softly in agentle breeze. Clouds drifted in the blue sky like puffs of white smoke. Unhurriedsummer students dotted the languid campus. Billy had not noticed the sky or trees or people or anything else for so long that everything he saw appeared fresh and newlyevocative.He had to call Vera. He had hardly seen or talked to her in all the weeks he had beenimmersed in his writing. Suddenly, he missed her terribly. She had been so good, so loyal,so patient with him for so long that he resolved to make it up to her.First chance, he would take her for a swim in Caulfield Lake. They would go out todinner, to movies and plays that she wanted to see. After all this, they would just betogether, finally.Meanwhile, from across the main quadrangle, Billy could see Sister Francis Helen on the bench, flipping through pages. He thought,
She hates it. She's not even reading it.
Thenthe black-robed figure bent over his manuscript, fixedly, like a thirteenth-century monk.
What's she doing? Looking for everything wrong?
But her poised red pencil, which she used to bloody manuscripts, did not strike. Instead,as if not believing it, she started over from the beginning. She turned the pages slowly atfirst. Then she turned them faster and faster, pulse racing, eyes glistening.A tear rolled down her cheek and then another. She finished, stood, lifted a soggy face tothe heavens and placed her hand over her heart.“Dear God.”Billy saw her get up and dashed across the quadrangle.“Sister?”“You ... it ... it needs editing.”
She didn't hate it
.***Billy ran to call Vera with the news, but wasn't able to reach her. He couldn't reach her thenext day either or the next. When he finally did get hold of her, her voice was cool.“What's wrong?”“I met someone.”