Lianna Slug Orientation

  • I arrive with my mom at a building that looks like a two-story mall but is actually supposed to be the food court of UC Santa Cruz. We enter through a sweep of glass doors and stand in the middle of a large, covered plaza surrounded by various restaurants and eaterys. I'm here to attend a small orientation meeting for the start of a new school year here at UCSC. We'd planned to eat lunch when we arrived but as my mom ponders on which place to eat at, I take in the empty dining areas and figure everything's closed. I tell my mom this just as a cleaning lady rolls up with her cart of cleaning supplies. My mom asks her when the restaurants will open and the lady (of possible Latino heritage) mumbles something about how she has to go do her meditation. Deciding to postpone the meal until later, we go upstairs to the mezzanine where the meeting is taking place. There I sit down with about eight other students and a student-advisor around a table which is actually a large flat redwood stump. I'm sitting to the left of the advisor and to her right is my old friend, Lianna, who I haven't seen in some time. They have their backs to the railing which overlooks the ground floor of the building. My mom is wandering around nearby. I don't actually speak to Lianna but we communicate with our eyes--I expressing my surprise and delight that she will be joining the Banana Slugs of UCSC. The advisor talks while we're waiting for the actual meeting time to arrive and it becomes obvious that this is an information session for new student transfers like Lianna, not for returning students like me. On a whim I roughly rub my scalp with my hands and out of my hair tumbles some grass, two cigarette butts and one rose petal. Lianna excuses herself to go the restroom and the rest of the group mills around. I tell the advisor that I won't be attending the meeting after all. When Lianna returns she briefly exclaims that she's lost her backpack but it turns out to be sitting in a cubby hole nearby (which I point to). The fear in her voice makes me think she's carrying some kind of contraband like marijuana. I find out that the plan is for the group to eat lunch afterwards so I say I'll come back to eat with them--I say this while looking at Lianna so she knows I'm really coming back to talk to her. I say goodbye as the meeting begins--and I never spoke a word to Lianna.