Friday, June 19, 2009

Time tells her

Mill attended the University of Minnesota in the 1980s. She majored in English. One of her friends from childhood, Nancy O’Reilly, acted as if she had outgrown Mill by college. Mill saw Nancy O’Reilly days in Coffman Union reading psycholinguistics textbooks. Mill sat tables away reading Donne or Pope or Dryden or Swift but not the Romantics. Mill knew her own heart too little, the result of having a formal mother. If Nancy O’Reilly had stayed her friend, if their intellects had banded together, Mill might have realized she wanted a career in banking.

Had she realized she wanted a career in banking, she might have met her husband. Had she met her husband, she might have had children. Mill became an office worker with progressive responsibilities and static paycheck, and Nancy O’Reilly went on to earn a Ph.D. in linguistics. Mrs. Mill got a thank you note from Mrs. O’Reilly after Nancy O’Reilly had become Nancy O’Reilly-Kemp, though Nancy O’Reilly hadn’t invited Mill to the wedding. Later Mrs. Mill learned from Mrs. O’Reilly at the grocery store the O’Reilly-Kemps had two children.

Mill wrote, “Bookkeeping is to the Romantics as Teheran is to Carter,” and sent it to Carlisle’s blind box ad.

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