Older Woman: Kittenish. That’s how I’d describe her. Kittenish.
Younger Woman: I’ve always respected her. But now, somehow…
Older Woman: She’s very respectful toward me. One might even say, solicitous.
Younger Woman: When I look at her mouth, I hear a whispered wind of sibilants. Fox-x-x-x-x-y.
Older Woman: Congenitally inverted, that’s what I think. My tongue is useless.
Younger Woman: How fortunate I am. She’s a hard grader, and I get all A’s. A is for Aphrodite. Blah-blah-blah.
Older Woman: What is her name? Erinna? Djuna? Virginia? Frida? Ma Rainey?
Younger Woman: I’m so distressed! I feel foolish, as if I’m drowning in a….well, a well of loneliness. Yet here she is, as bold as factory smoke.
Older Woman: Here she is, right in my face. Her budding breasts, her supple waist.
Younger Woman: She’s got no shame. I like that.
Older Woman: I must be true to myself. No shame. Look her directly in the eye.
Younger Woman: She’s looking straight in my eyes! My panties are getting wet.
Older Woman: The scent of her…from here, like vanilla cream and strawberries. I yearn and I seek.
Younger Woman: I bet her breasts are still erect. And she is so cut!
Older Woman: She is so cute! Would I be her first? A golden pulse grows along the shores.
Younger Woman: My nipples are erect. Oh, this is disgraceful. I’m probably just imagining the whole thing.
Older Woman: I’ve let my imagination run away with me. Maybe I should just go home and…watch Oprah.
Younger Woman: I should just forget about the whole thing, go home and…do my homework.
The Younger Woman turns around to go.
The Older Woman drags her finger across her desktop. It makes a squeaky noise.
The Younger Woman turns around with curiosity.
Older Woman: Mabel?
Younger Woman: Yes, Miss Hall?
Older Woman: (To herself) I’m thinking about her silky pubic hair and sweetly turned up mouth. As if always in a smile.
Younger Woman: Miss Hall?
Older Woman You are very promising, you know.
Younger Woman: (To herself) Should I ask her to tea? Christ on a crutch! What am I thinking?!
Older Woman: (To herself) What a vapid thing to say to her. Still, better than nothing.
An awkward silence.
Older Woman: I mean your poetry.
Younger Woman: Your Titian hair.
Older Woman: Excuse me, dear?
Younger Woman: Your teaching here has been such an inspiration to me. (To herself) Stupid Sappho.
Older Woman: Do you…have the time?
Younger Woman: (Looking at her watch) I have a class.
Older Woman: Is that all? I thought you’d be rushing off to meet your beau.
Younger Woman: (To herself) Who says “beau” any more? How adorable. (To Older Woman) I don’t have one.
Older Woman: Perhaps later, then? I have some remarkable literary memorabilia I think you’d find very enlightening. It might even provide some good fodder for your final paper.
Younger Woman: Or next poem.
Older Woman: You understand me.
Younger Woman: Let’s see what you got.
Older Woman: (Under her breath) It’s all so fast. (To Younger Woman) Shall we say 8:00 this evening, then?
Younger Woman: Cool, cool, cool…How about Prairie Lights? They’ve got a nice little coffee house on the second floor…
Older Woman: I’m familiar with it. (She gingerly puts on a pair of white lace gloves) In fact, my flat’s close by there.
Younger Woman: (Playing with her hair) Awesome.
Blackout. Sound of ticking. Lights snap back up.
Later. Older Woman sits alone at a table, a big scrapbook on her lap. She leafs through it without interest. Her back is to the door. She’s slightly slumped. The clock: reads: 9:30.
Older Woman: (She sits up with resolve, reads aloud): Better the swan’s chant than a windy world of rocks in an April Sky.
Younger Woman: (At the door) “Antipater of Sidon.” Sorry I’m late.
Older Woman: Andrew Lang, 1844-1912. Right on time, Mabel.
Younger Woman: My friends call me Sita.