Tess 17


            JANNET WAKES. IT IS FRIDAY, AUGUST 1ST, AND SHE IS FULLY RESTED AFTER A LATE return to Portland last night. She unpacks, checks correspondence, and makes a few phone calls. Jannet deliberately marches, for a quite extended walk, from her dwellings to a favorite hair salon/barbershop just north of West Burnside and near her favorite grocery; she waits on an outside bench, after signing in, for the next available opening. This is a quality unisex salon/barbershop but there are no appointments, you simply show up and wait for the next available stylist although it is usually not too long. She commits to a very short boy-cut although her hair is allowed to remain much longer in the front; she now has an arched swath of hair overhanging part of the left side of her face. Jannet has elected for this radical cut, and the accompanying change in attire, about three or four times, in her past, within her lifetime.

            The impetus, in the past, was always spurred by a major life change that she had been experiencing at the time. In high school, the 2nd semester of the senior year. Jannet went with the boy-cut and lots of accompanying jeans, sweatshirts, male work shirts, oversized flannel shirts, baseball caps, and work boots because she had officially identified herself as lesbian, in public, and she had concurrently received an acceptance letter to PSU. The look lasted 3 or 4 months. A little over four years later, she adopted the boyish look before she left for graduate school in Boulder, Colorado. She maintained the look for the entirety of the two years in Colorado. In fact, her good friend in Colorado, Elena, who visited her in Portland about a year and a half after their graduation from grad school, was shocked to find Jannet with medium brown shoulder length hair with an accompanying girly clothing attire. When Jannet’s financial resources changed radically, due to success with Elena’s investment club, again Jannet returned to the all-compassing boyish look. That period though lasted only two months.

            Jannet latest transition back to the boyish look, short hair and a preference for male clothing and work attire is sparked by her realization that she and Mari Belen are a definitive couple. They are firmly attached and Jannet has committed to relocating, for the majority of her time, to Spain. Jannet is also aware that there is ample time for her current look to change back to a less stark look, just before she returns to Spain.

            Jannet quickly reintegrates back into her Oregon life. She is not teaching at the community college, during her current two-month tenure in Portland but she has committed to a stint as a Math tutor. It is three afternoons a week, for two or three hours each time, with the meeting space in a quiet corner of the tutoring center in the campus library.

            She makes the rounds with all her friends through a series of coffee/conversation get-togethers, lunches, and dinners. She contacts a few of the cousins for a quick check-in. She gains Grace’s parent permission to visit with Grace and the two continue their friendship and Grace’s unofficial new age education.

            Several days after Jannet’s return to Portland, she is hanging out with Sara Jean in the Pacific building apartment. The two women talk. Despite Jannet’s handsomely furnished apartment, she is sitting on the floor, leaning against a massive couch while Sara Jean is opposite, sitting crossed leg on another couch. Just then, there is a distance sound of an opening and a closing door. Footsteps begin to sound towards the main salon of the apartment. A curious Jannet and Sara Jean both stand to face the incoming walker, which materializes into Mari Belen.

            “Hey girls, I know I walked in without knocking but that is what we are accustomed to doing in Spain. Besides your front door is unlocked.” Mari Belen laughs and she enjoys the surprised look on the faces of Jannet and Sara Jean. Of course, Jannet sprints to meet her. The two embrace. Soon thereafter, Mari Belen crosses the short distance to formally introduce herself to Sara Jean. She applies the requisite two light kisses, one for each cheek of Sara Jean’s face. “Very nice to finally meet you. And by the way, my police partners believe you are a movie star in hiding.” Mari Belen lightly teases. She then turns back to Jannet; she has seen Jannet’s new look via Skype but not in person. “So, girlfriend how long can we expect this new look to be around?”

            In reality, Mari Belen is supportive of Jannet’s current look, especially after Jannet assures her that she will revert back, more or less, to a regular countenance, but still with a shorter hair length, by the time of her return to Spain.

            After Sara Jean makes a hasty retreat, Mari Belen explains that she has wanted to visit Jannet because of the extended length of their present separation, of about two months. She wants to visit Jannet’s friends and Jannet’s haunts, so that she would have a better understanding of her Portland life. The woman’s primary motivation for the sudden trip to Portland is to spend time with Jannet on her home field. She also feels that she owes Jannet some amount of reciprocation especially since Jannet has made an unconditional/major commitment to relocate to Spain for the majority of each calendar year.

            Mari Belen examines the apartment. She makes an unhurried and meticulous tour. Jannet believes her to be very impressed by the surroundings. The living room area evokes a more substantial darker masculine tone with its very large/comfortable furnishings and fixtures. The kitchen and dining areas are in the center of the open apartment space and it features a strong industrial look. The refrigeration and other storage are of a low and horizontal design. There is an aisle, of sorts, for the kitchen and dining areas that is augmented by two low elongated banks of bookcases as outside borders. One is facing toward the living room area and another line of bookcases is facing toward the bedroom area. The bedroom area features mid-century furnishings/flourishes and a softer feminine feel. There is an oblong room, containing a narrow bathroom and closet, occupying one entire wall of the bedroom area. Mari Belen finds it curious that there is no art on the walls although there is a generous wall of windows on the north side of the apartment. Jannet has arranged a few nicely framed posters and a few antique wooden window frames complete with glass panes and two rather massive mirrors, all leaning casually against the walls of the apartment. There are also several extremely large and beautiful terrariums, and a few large vases of fresh flowers.

            Only the little office area seems out of sync, in Mari Belen’s opinion; for it is tucked in the corner of the bedroom area instead of the more suitable living room region. Mari Belen also discovers, to her horror, that the linear bathroom/closet area has walls but no attached ceiling.

            She notes that Jannet’s apartment is over twice the size of her apartment in Madrid and it is remarkably but tastefully understated. Mari Belen, as is her custom, makes mental notes of the luxurious apartment for future reference. It sparks a growing idea, which is inside of her, which is her dream to become a home owner.

            Mari Belen is in town for only three more days and Jannet arranges for casual visits to her favorite places, and with her close friends, and to her frequent work place at the community college. Jannet also arranges, for the two of them, to attend a weekend party at Madelyn’s house, which she had initially declined. And there are specific plans for lunch with Sara Jean and Grace, and an evening of dinner and conversation with Becka and Mark.

            The next day, Friday, Jannet and Mari Belen walk to a downtown restaurant for lunch with Sara Jean and Grace; and after lunch the couple will play tourists. Grace has received permission from her Mom and she is to report home by mid-afternoon. Grace’s mom has been a little critical of Grace’s friends because she feels that Grace only appears to have adult friends and no teenage friends. Grace recently informed her mother that the problem would be easily resolved if her mother simply regarded her as an adult and not as a teenager. Not unsurprisingly, her mother did not respond well to her daughter’s defiant comments.

           Jannet, as usual, has placed two orders for her lunch and she has to explain to Mari Belen about the practice. Mari Belen is not dressed in her usual mostly-black attire, but on this occasion she is wearing blue jeans, blue high-top Converses, and a brown cashmere sweater. She has her hair tied back in a small ponytail. Sara Jean peppers Mari Belen initially with questions but soon she segues into a proper back and forth conversational modality. Jannet is silent. After Grace devours Jannet’s second food order, the teenager also remains silent.

            “Oh, by the way, Grace, Jannet and I have discussed inviting you and your mother to Madrid next summer for one week, and that would be about a year from now. We would pay for the flights and the lodging, of course.” Mari Belen informs Grace. Jannet and Mari Belen have discussed the proposal recently in one of their Skype sessions.

            In the wake of this announcement, there is an immediate change in Grace’s countenance and she vigorously shakes her head in affirmation.

            “Can I scan you?” Grace returns. Mari Belen has been briefed by Jannet, in the past, about this process and how she is to navigate it.

            “Yes, of course you have my permission to probe about but I would like to invoke the intention that the very private and very personal aspects of myself be off-limits.” Mari Belen returns confidently.

            “Ok, no problem.” The teenager is enthusiastic. She then proceeds by closing her eyes. She enters a light trance. A few minutes later, she opens her eyes. “Can I apologize now? I am really sorry that I had been such a little brat this afternoon. I think I was worried about you taking Jannet away forever, but I can see now that there is strong bond between the two of you. And that she will continue to return to Portland although for only short periods of time, each visit.” Grace continues. “And I see, holographically, the actual attachments between the two of you, you and Jannet. They are like solid lengths of rope only they are made out of steel. The two of you have a solid connection.”

            Jannet can only smile warmly, at the teenager, and she finally speaks up. “Anyone for dessert?”

               Saturday morning, Jannet begins the day by taking Mari Belen to one of her favorite breakfast places. It is a breakfast/lunch diner that is housed in the upscale boutique Hotel Lucia which is only a few blocks north of her apartment. Both Sara Jean and Jannet have become enamored with bars and eateries within the various marvelous downtown hotels. Jannet has a particular purpose in mind with her visit to this particular hotel diner. One of the staff is an acquaintance, a college student, and a photographer and Jannet has enlisted the young man to take a few clandestine photos of herself and Mari Belen, while at the diner.

            After the hotel diner, in the morning, Jannet takes Mari Belen on a long walk through the South Park blocks.  She points out here favorite locations which includes churches, coffee shops, and museums. And eventually they enter the PSU campus. Jannet proudly provides a comprehensive tour of her alma mater campus including stops at the student union and the PSU Queer Resource Center, which are both next to each other and deeply situated within the campus. Mari Belen makes a mental note to provide a future tour, for Jannet, of both the La Autónoma university grounds in Madrid and in Barcelona.

           On Saturday late afternoon, Mari Belen and Jannet have committed to visit Becka and Mark and their daughter at their home. The family now newly reside in the North Mississippi Avenue neighborhood in a gorgeous craftsman styled home, to which both of them had committed hours of sweat-equity over the course of a few months. Becka and Mark are public school teachers, they have been married 9 and ½ years and they have a daughter, Ava, who is almost 7 years old. Becka is African American, Mark is Hispanic, and their daughter is a bi-racial child.

            Mari Belen has on blue jeans and blue silk blouse and low-heeled boots. Jannet is boyish in her attire. Dinner and conversation is polite and after dinner the group break into two parts. Jannet, Mark, and Ava camp in the living room on a generous couch. Jannet and Mark are camped in front of the television, they are both avid baseball fans; they are viewing the ESPN broadcast program, Baseball Tonight. Ava is actually a bit more engrossed with her mini iPad. In the kitchen, Mari Belen and Becka have progressed into an intense conversation about their respective high school years. Mari Belen helps Becka with the kitchen duties after the dinner meal is complete and accidentally discover several very ripe pears languishing on the kitchen counter. She proposes to Becka that they make a simple pear tart together and it is this suggestion that further engenders the two.

            The evening ends with plates of freshly baked pear tart and mugs of hot-spiced apple cider which is consumed, by the collective gathering, in the family living room to the background of reports on the state of American baseball.

            Sunday afternoon, Madelyn has invited Jannet and Mari Belen to her lavished home in the West Hills for a catered lunch. Mari Belen wears a black pencil skirt, a white silk blouse, and high heels. She has obtained a superb Spanish port, from a pricey store in the Pearl district, and she plans on presenting it as a gift to Madelyn. Jannet relents on her boyish look for one afternoon by wearing a straight cut navy blue languid dress, dark blue tights, and medium heels. The navy blue dress is calf-length. On the drive to the West Hills, Mari Belen has inquired about Jannet’s lack of preference for pumps with heels over 2 or 3 inches in height. Jannet relates a high school story in which she fell on a flight of stairs, she had been experimenting with wearing extreme high heels during her freshman year. Someone unknown had pushed Becka who in turn, fell into a wobbly Jannet who in turn was launched down the stairwell. She suffered a fractured wrist and badly bruised knees, and developed a lifelong caution of extreme high heels. That incident turned out to be one in a series of incidents related to bullying during her first year in high school.

           In attendance, at Madelyn’s home, is Jocelyn and Terri and with the respective husbands or partners of each of the three women in attendance. Madelyn, Jocelyn, and Terri engage in a gracious conversation at the beginning of the luncheon. Mari Belen asks about their bi-annual trips to music and cultural festivals.   

            It is this latter item that tilts the conversation from a light polite one to a truly engaged exchange, especially when Mari Belen references her travels to different parts of Europe. She excites the women by suggesting that they might visit Europe next year. Next year is 2015 and normally that would be an off-year in the schedule of their bi-annual excursions. But Mari Belen suggests a one-week excursion nevertheless at the end of September 2015 to Venice, Italy to the international biennial cultural festival. They might also stop in Madrid, for a day or two, on their return to the states. This suggestion is received with enthusiasm and Jocelyn immediately reaches for her iPad to begin a search.

            The afternoon winds down with a luscious dessert tray, coffee, and aperitifs on the patio of the house. The men are especially intrigued by Mari Belen’s police work in Spain. The afternoon has evolved into a warm round of conversation and laughter, at this point.

            Mari Belen is due to leave Portland on a late flight tonight, Sunday. But before the sun sets, she walks around Jannet’s immediate neighborhood with a smartphone to record a video for her nieces, Lara and Lavina. The two had insisted on visuals of Jannet’s nearby neighborhood streets, the exterior of her building, and the interior of her building. Mari Belen naturally begins with the adjacent Pioneer Square and the US Courthouse building to introduce her tour. As a finish to the video tour, Jannet and Mari Belen are now riding up in the elevator with Mari Belen narrating. Once in the apartment, the narration continues, zone by zone, throughout Jannet’s apartment. Mari Belen believes that the nieces will be well pleased with the video tour.

            Jannet and Mari Belen have an light dinner at a restaurant that is a few blocks away from the apartment. Jannet becomes somewhat sadden when she asks Mari Belen about the two of them going to the airport together after dinner. Mari Belen declines.

            “And why can’t I go to the airport with you?” Jannet is doggedly although gently inquisitive.

            “I don’t do airports with anyone because I can get a little emotional and I do not like to make public displays. Jannet, more than anyone except for my family, you are important to me. And you may not be aware of this but when we separate, it has a devastating impact on me.” Mari Belen courageously admits. Of course, Jannet is moved by Mari Belen’s admission but she secretly vows to continue asking, about the joint airport runs, in the future.     

          Impressions of Portland floats through her mind as she travels by plane back from the states to Spain. Mari Belen recalls Portland as a quintessential American city. Although the downtown areas, and in/around the universities and colleges, are dominated by waves of young people, she does find, by and large, Portland to be a city of work and industry. It seems a city of burnished grays and charcoals, and deep greens. From the bluffs on the east side of the river in the University Park and Cathedral Park neighborhoods, one can experience the massive factory works, rail yards, freight trains, transport trucks, gigantic cranes, shipyards, ocean freighters, and industrialized bridges. Beyond these rivers scenes, to the west, is the West Hills and Forest Park, an angular stretch of high ground that divides the city from its SW suburbs. It seems to her to be a city of optimism. The Pearl District, of downtown Portland, she recalls is an upscale commercial version of an industrialized America with its residential lofts; and with its factory-façade of shops, housing, and eateries. Mari Belen personally enjoys good clothing and she finds the appearance of most Portland citizens to be a little too casual. By contrast, in Madrid, of course, most people dress very professionally and stylishly during the work week. She thinks as she begins to drift to sleep, on the jet plane to home, that by far, her favorite aspect of that city, is its views of the river from various parts of the downtown vicinity, and most especially the view from the tram ride to top of the hill at the Oregon Health & Science University.

           Jannet is alternately content and sadden in the wake of Mari Belen’s departure. Mostly she is impressed that Mari Belen has committed time and effort toward knowing Portland and knowing her friends. Jannet is especially interested in obtaining feedback from Sara Jean about Mari Belen, so she makes an impromptu plan to hang out with Sara Jean at her apartment in University Park. The two women take a long walk about the campus of the University of Portland one late afternoon, a few days after Mari Belen has departed.

            “Any opinions about Mari Belen?” Jannet asks tentatively; she is interested in Sara Jean’s opinion. The two women are walking just near the campus’ baseball field.

           “I wanted to dislike her because I think she is too much of a ‘Type A’ and because she is stealing you away to Europe. But I don’t dislike her. She seems to have the innate ability to win people over, if she wants to. And seeing the two of you together, it is obvious that there is a good fit. And you will be returning every three months, for a few weeks each time, right?” Sara Jean ask sincerely.

            “Yes, I will. This is still my home, only now I have two homes. One home is here and the other one will be in Spain with Mari Belen. Also, I know that she can be a little assertive but she is a woman living and working in a very macho culture, in Spain, and in a very macho job with the police. She has to appear to be tough as they are. Actually, in reality, in private she is really wonderful and considerate. She has had relationships with only Type A(s), like her and I have had only relationships with my Type B(s), mellow types. We find that we complement each other quite nicely. And the other thing is, she has accepted me, with all of my differentness, from the very beginning. By the way and additionally there has been unconditional support from her sister, her nieces, and her police partners as well. It is a little scary to move somewhat permanently to another country, but I believe that I need to do it for this particular intimate relationship and for my personal growth.” Jannet explains, as the two past the ballpark and decide to walk to extreme west side of the campus and to the overlook of the bluffs.

            “Oh, as you know, she has invited Grace, and her mom, to Spain; and she has suggested to Madelyn and her crew about visiting Spain after a trip to Italy next year. Why didn’t she invite me?” Sara Jean is carefully waiting for the answer.

            “Because you are my best friend and she knew that I would invite you myself.”

            Mari Belen is content with the results of her spontaneous decision to visit the states. She likes Jannet’s friends, the city of Portland, and Jannet’s apartment. It is the apartment, over 2100 square feet with its comfortable/casual elegance, which reiterates, for Mari Belen the reality that Jannet is a woman of means although she is very unassuming about it.

            Barely one day after her return to Madrid, she is back to work at the police offices and she is immediately buried with waiting paperwork. Nevertheless, her family insists on seeing her, there will be family gathering, the very evening of her first day back on the job. The family meets at her sister Margarita’s house and before the arrival of the parents and her brother with his family, the nieces do pepper Mari Belen with more questions about the states, the city of Portland, and about Jannet.

            The questions continue throughout dinner at a nearby restaurant, after the arrivals of the other family members from Toledo. Mari Belen responds patiently to every question and listens to every comment although she is a bit exhausted. Everyone is generally happy about Jannet’s decision to move permanently or somewhat permanently to Madrid. Although, her parents are only politely supportive while her brother is characteristically neutral.

           Mari Belen has been exploring an idea, without consulting with Jannet, but she does elect to present it at the present family gathering, in hopes that her plan will encourage more universal support for Jannet’s future long-term presence in Madrid. She presents a plan, to her family, about a move to a larger apartment or a house in order to have more space for her and Jannet to co-habituate. She deftly adds that it might be a good family project to search together for the new lodging, which she believes should be in the same neighborhood as Margarita. Mari Belen wants to become a homeowner, and it would be a first-time for her. She continues with the suggestion that the home should have two or three bedrooms, thus allowing Jannet to have a separate bedroom and closet space. The idea, as Mari Belen has hoped, is received with a great deal of eagerness. Even Mari Belen’s brother seems to enliven, a bit, at the suggestion of a family project. And the plan is a simple one, a viewing of eligible home prospects, on Sunday afternoons, for the next few weeks, and of course the tours would be followed by a family dinner.

           Mari Belen does remember to express heartfelt vocal appreciation to the family, during the meal, and she wholeheartedly indicates a willingness to be open to any opinions or input about her new future living situation.

            Jannet’s days continue with a familiar regularity. There is tutoring a few afternoons a week, at the community college, in-person consultations in the mornings, Skype conversations with Mari Belen that occur a few times a week, and conversations with an emerging Grace. One afternoon, it is late August, Sara Jean and Jannet are lounging and consuming coffee on a park bench, in the South Park blocks, near to the entrance to PSU.

            “Sara Jean, I want your opinion about my apartment in the Pacific building. I know that I should probably let it go and when I return, for my short visits, I could get temporary housing in one of those long-stay hotels. That is the sensible approach but the other side of this, is that I really love that apartment, the furnishings, the location, but of course, you already know how I feel.” Jannet is in the middle of presenting a proposal to Sara Jean but there is a sudden interruption. And Sara Jean is prevented from responding by the unexpected intrusion.

            “Hey, guys, what new?” The voice, that is speaking, belongs to Harri Decker or Harriett Decker. Her brother, Alex or Alexander, is standing next to her along with several other individuals. The Deckers attend PSU and currently they are both in a Doctorate program; Harri has just begun the program.

            The two benched women project a ‘deer caught in the headlights’ look towards the group and they seem, for a moment, to be at a loss for words.

            “So, we have been trying to arrange a meeting with you two. How about now? You seem to be free.” Harri suggests and waits for a response. Jannet and Sara Jean reply that they think that today, or right now, is too soon and so they suggest, instead, a meeting for tomorrow late afternoon and the Deckers accept. However, the Deckers insist that the meeting take place at the PSU library and that they will reserve a room.

            After the Deckers and their friends march away, back into the PSU campus, Jannet and Sara Jean continue their earlier conversation. “So you have a proposal.” Sara Jean restarts the conversation. “My sense is that you want to hang on to your apartment and the furnishings for a while, despite your commitment to near full-time residence in Spain?” Jannet nods affirmatively but a little nervously. “Ok, I am interested in subletting your space for one year and when you return, every few months, we will share the space.”

            After a few minutes of mental consideration, Jannet agrees. She realizes that an additional 12 months would allow her extra time to develop a more realistic long-term plan and that the 12 months would reduce the pressure of any immediate decisions. The two women agree that Sara Jean would pay the same amount of rent that she is currently paying for her University Park apartment.

           “And what about you? What about your plans?” Jannet turns a near right angle on the park bench to more completely face Sara Jean.

            Sara Jean has a pensive look of deep thought on her face. “I have recently decided to take action on a few major life issues. Firstly, my business partner and I have decided to expand our accounting practice and this will allow us to create a more manageable working situation. Up to now we have killed ourselves working while we have also continued to add more and more permanent clients but that has now allowed us the option to grow our staff. Of course, I will continue with my role in PAG.”

           The statuesque woman takes a long pull of coffee before continuing. “Secondly, in my personal life, I want to attract a permanent long-term quality relationship, I have contracted with an expensive dating agency. And lastly, I want to buy my own apartment, I have been saving and saving and saving. I have my eye on a condo near the new Washington High School business complex in SE Portland. I am sure you have heard about it, it is an old abandoned massive high school building which has been converted into commercial and business units.”

            “Your plans sound great and you seem very determined. Congratulations.” Jannet responds with great sincerity. “And I really appreciate this sublet plan, I will make arrangements for most of my personal effects and some of my clothing to be put into storage; and I will move the remainder into the smaller closet. I will not ship anything to Spain until after I start to feel completely settled there.” Jannet concludes with an affectionate squeeze of Sara Jean’s finely shaped hands.

            Mari Belen has continued to give much thought to Jannet’s upcoming living situation in Madrid, but her idea is for the two of them to co-habituate. She does not want Jannet to live in a separate apartment. She has spearheaded a project, with the family, to find a large condo or a house in the same neighborhood as her sister, Margarita. This neighborhood is situated just east of Parque Buen Retiro. The search days are scheduled for Sundays, with the family, and Mondays by herself. Already there has been the surfacing of quick and quite viable options and a decision might be forthcoming very soon.

            Unfortunately, for Mari Belen, because of work she has only been available for Skype sessions on her two off-days although Jannet establishes contact regardless and almost daily. Usually Jannet will opt to leave her a message via an e-mail or a phone text, if there turns out to be no Skype session.

            It is a day in mid-August. Portland is experiencing one of its infrequent hot spells. It had been in the 70’s and the low 80’s for almost two weeks and then suddenly yesterday it was 89 degrees. It is in the upper-90s today and it will remain so tomorrow and then magically a few days from now the temperatures will return to its customary mildness. Both Jannet and Sara Jean sport t-shirts, jeans, and converse tennis shoes as they wait in a reserved meeting room in the Millar library on the PSU campus. They are slightly cold in the chilled room. They are waiting for the Deckers, who finally do arrive, though 20 minutes or so late.

            Sorry, we’re late. I have just started a Ph.D. program and Alex is midway through his program. We both have had meetings that have run a little over.” Harri explains, she is a bit winded perhaps from hurrying across campus. Harri and Alex are present along with several other individuals. Harri proceeds to introduce everyone in her group, as everyone finds a seat. As she introduces the last person, and she mentions that the individual, a tall male, is her fiancé. Jannet and Sara Jean offer sincere congratulations, as the two women start to shiver a bit. They have both decided that the meeting room temperature is becoming too cold for them. Jannet is thinking about suggesting that they all move to one of the outdoor quad areas but her thoughts are interrupted.

            “Firstly, I am not sure why the both of you have exhibited an aloofness and an elusiveness towards us. We are not the enemy and the changes we have proposed and the changes that we hope to propose, for the PAG, will only help it to grow. However, I will apologize for the innocent appropriation of your intellectual property and for making references to both of you, without your prior permission. There was no clandestine scheme involved only an exhibition of youthful overzealousness on our part.” She pauses to take a close look at the two women and she ascertains that the two seem placidly neutral, so far.

            “We need the good name and the recognized name of the PAG to pursue our goals. But the original group and their interests will remain intact as we proceed into the future.” She pauses for effect for a minute or two. “Also if you feel that we have overstepped any boundaries, then I want to offer a formal and genuine apology, especially since we have harbored no malicious intents.” There is another long silent pause. “We are all good then and the air is clear between us?” Jannet and Sara Jean clearly nod their assentation but they are thinking more about the enveloping chill of the meeting room.

           “So, let get to this. As you know, there is a PAG meeting next week, the monthly meeting and then after that there are independent planning sessions for the September equinox week. We wanted to offer a plan for a further reorganization of PAG, during the meeting next week, and we want an exposition of 100% support from both of you at that meeting.” Harri stops and surveys the two women, who are now officially shivering, in order to ascertain their reactions. Harri determines that they appear to be open to listening to the pitch.

            The proposed plan involves the complete takeover of the PAG by the Deckers although the organization’s name will remain the same, for now. There will be a new board of directors consisting of mostly people associated with the Deckers’ team view. The new organization will have three branches which will include a larger public side, a smaller private side, and a new foundation.  The private side of the new PAG configuration would maintain an advisory board only and there will be two permanent seats available to them on the new PAG board. The current PAG staff can continue as a relatively independent unit with their focus on small and private gatherings during the solstice or equinox weeks.

            The public side of the new organization will maintain its involvement in presenting larger new age events during the solstice/equinox weeks. The PAG offices will be moved to a less expensive per square foot and much larger location in SE Portland. While the foundation will support a long-term or perhaps life-long publishing project or projects which is tentatively entitled ‘The Manual’. The Manual, she explains, is an aspiring attempt to create a new form of spiritual literature or testament/testaments that will be comprised of materials from many different contemporary sources. A type of international spiritual compendium promoting a comprehensive spiritualism. They have further hopes that these spiritual books or testaments will be suitably augmented, as each new future generation encounter them.

            Jannet and Sara Jean are both intrigued by the new lifelong project of the Deckers. They have decided, as well, that it is much too frigid to remain in the library meeting room.

           “You two have not uttered a word. Any questions, concerns, comments, admonishments, or suggestions?” Harri solicits and patiently waits for replies from Jannet or Sara Jean.

            “Yes, can we go outside, to continue this meeting?” Sara Jean suggests with a visibly shaky voice.

            Once outside, in a relatively secluded spot in the massive oblong quad which runs through the center of the urban campus, Harri reiterates in exhaustive detail the short-term and long-term plans of the new organization while repeatedly guaranteeing the autonomous nature of the private side of PAG for their small gathering events. Jannet continues to be quite intrigued that Harri is the only one, who has been primarily speaking. The remainder of their little group have been profoundly silent. Finally, Harri concludes her pitch and she utters her appreciation for the two women’s attentiveness; and now she insists on Jannet’s and Sara Jean’s official opinion. Without wasting time, Jannet and Sara Jean both pledged their support for the Deckers’ plan. The two women’s support is genuine especially since there appears to be an air of inevitability about the Deckers’ proposals.

            “Thanks for your support.” Harri sincerely states as she affectionately embraces Jannet and then Sara Jean in turn.  And without another word, the Deckers and their little group march away in to the deep crevices of the university campus.

            Jannet and Sara Jean also slowly walk away but off campus and they concentrate their focus on finding a restaurant for a late, late, lunch. They are comfortable with their support of the Deckers, especially since there is an overall ambiance of destiny about them and because there is a guarantee that the original private core interests of the PAG can still be pursued. Jannet and Sara Jean both lament the eventual dissolution of the Pacific Building’s PAG offices but they are promised three or four rooms in the new proposed PAG warehouse space, in SE Portland, starting in January 2015. Both women are content with idea of a bit less involvement with the maturing big picture PAG. They are happy to still maintain a vital role within their smaller grassroots group; and in addition they are strongly aware that they both need to speak with Becka prior to the board meeting, so that she has some form of advance notice.