Monday morning turned out to be more hectic than usual. I had tossed and turned all night thinking about what Abe told me about his mystery girl and I didn’t get to sleep until after three.
When the alarm went off at seven, I hit the snooze feature—or thought I did—and ended up shutting off the alarm. It wasn’t until just after eight, when the sun was slanting through the window curtains, that I finally awoke and realized my mistake.
I cursed my stupidity. I had a lecture at ten and was hoping to go over some notes before class—that plan was out the window. I’d be lucky to make it to class on time, given the Monday morning backup on the expressway.
I showered, grabbed a coffee and a toasted cinnamon-raisin bagel at the takeout window of my local Tim Horton’s coffee shop, and headed onto the highway. Fortunately, the traffic was light and I actually managed to get to my office just after nine thirty.
It was going to be a long day—office hours with students after lunch, an appointment to help a grad student craft a proposal for her master’s thesis at two, and then a faculty meeting at four. A day in the life of a university professor—could it get any better?
Maybe that’s why I jumped at Abe’s proposal to help the girl. My humdrum existence needed a shot of adrenaline—even if it came with danger attached.
The lecture took place in an old wood paneled hall with high narrow windows and aged charm.
The lecture went well— Rethinking the American Dream. I even added in a few references to Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself, basking in the admiring comments of students and thoroughly enjoying myself until I happened to glance up and see something that stopped my heart.
The girl from my dream had come into the room and was standing in the doorway.
I scarcely heard what the students were saying—I vaguely remember making an excuse and hurrying back to where she was standing, in the shadowy shelter of an ancient overhanging wooden balcony.
‘Professor Lennox?” she asked.
I was awe-struck, scarcely having wits about me to answer or even converse with her.
“Y-yes,” I stammered.
“Am I interrupting? —I’m sorry—I can come back at a more convenient time.”
She had this beautiful, wispy, Marilyn Monroe hair. When she talked, she whispered—in a soft, almost little girl voice.
I must have looked a complete fool—she began backing away.
“Have we met before?” I asked stupidly.
She laughed—a beautiful sunny laugh—her moist lips parting, “I don’t think so—I doubt we move in the same circles.”
“Of course,” I muttered.
“We do have a mutual acquaintance though—Abe Rosen—he recommended I drop by and see about auditing the course.”
“Do you have room? I see it’s a large class.” She glanced around the hall.
“There are over 200 students registered and usually only about 125 show up, so there’s lots of space.”
She nodded, and then seemed to recall something.
“Oh,” she said, “silly me—I forgot to introduce myself—I’m Marilyn Birnam.”
If she said Marilyn Monroe, I would have believed her. I was totally enthralled. Nothing Abe said prepared me for her—but then, he’d have never guessed—we already met in my dreams.
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