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Carpe diem

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collage by Lady-in-Waiting

 

Saturday 7:30 a.m. Big metallic color fridge in the flat of Political Science Professor William Melbourne. White paper napkin held by a plain black stationery magnet.


Good morning, Professor M:) Thanks for the counselling and for the files, they will be incredibly useful! You blacked out right over your papers while I was making tea but I didn’t wake you because lately even people sitting in the back rows of the lecture hall can see the bags under your eyes.

 

The text pauses there, because the author ran out of space on this side of the napkin and had to turn it over to continue in smaller hand.

 

Anyway, don’t worry, I hope you’ll have a good night’s sleep. I took everything home with me, which I also hope you won’t mind. Love (struck through multiple times, albeit somewhat unsuccessfully, ballpoint pen ink being a bad match for the ridged surface of the napkin, leaving a jugged hole after L.) Best regards, Victoria. P.S. I’ll lock the door on my way out.

 

***


Monday 2:00 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. A white post-it note stuck between the fifth and the sixth pages of the marked paper on Marcus Aurelius.

 

Thank you for all the good care, however I feel rather awkward having let myself fall asleep while you were in need of my advice. I hope you have managed to find everything you were looking for in my files. Fine paper, unexpected choice of subject. W.M.

 

 

***


Monday 2:05 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Crumpled sheet of ruled paper.

 

What the hell, Vic? Why is he leaving notes for you? I seem to remember us discussing what a bad idea it was to date a teacher. Don’t do anything stupid, baby.

 

Monday 2:20 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Crumpled page haphazardly torn out of a Moleskine notebook.

 

It’s study-related, Harry. Don’t be daft. You know I’m not looking for trouble. Besides, he’d never fancy me.

 

Monday 2:25 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Crumpled sheet of ruled paper.

 

Don’t start with this dumb psychoanalysis shite, sunshine. We’ve been through this. You're cool, you're sexy, and your mummy with her collared dresses is partying somewhere in Ibiza with her gigolo, way too relaxed to drag her bones into the ghastly Scottish weather and poison your life… Although, you might be right, because anyone listening to his lecture right now would know he won’t get a hard-on unless the girl recites Machiavelli’s treatise to him.

 

Monday 2:27 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Under the previous correspondence on the same crumpled sheet of ruled paper.

 

Ladies, I hate to distract you from your fascinating discussion but could you please listen to the lecture instead of your hormones?

 

Monday 2:28 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Same crumpled sheet of ruled paper.

 

Albert is a twat.

 

Monday 2:27 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Small piece of ruled paper.

 

Albert, you’re a twat.

 

Monday 2:35 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Neatly folded sheet of ruled paper.

 

I am not a twat, I am the Students’ Association Vice President for Academic Affairs. Just wait until you start whining and asking me for my notes. What I am going to say to you then is go fuck yourselves.

 

Monday 2:37 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Small piece of ruled paper.

 

Holy cookies, you actually know this kind of words?! Looks like your brother is finally rubbing off on you.

 

Monday 2:38 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Neatly folded sheet of ruled paper.

 

I’m sure you’d know all about my brother rubbing off.

 

Monday 2:38 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Text on the projection screen.

 

I can see it, you know. All notes on my desk. I sincerely hope you are discussing The Prince.

 

Monday 2:39 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. A line on the bottom of the same long-suffering crumpled sheet of ruled paper.

 

Fuck.

 

 

***

 

Monday 4:00 p.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Small yellow sheet of paper held by a kitten magnet with “lesbians eat what?” written on it — chosen on purpose to piss off Charles who is known for his reverence to the culinary subject.

 

Nancy, we have paid for the Internet, renewed Netflix subscription, got into deep shit with Professor M and holed up in the library for the afternoon. Grab a bottle of wine when you’re at Charlie’s restaurant. The stronger the better.

 

Postscript, different ink, different hand, hastily.

 

Get whiskey.

 

 

***

 

Monday 3:12 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

What’s wrong, Will?

 

Monday 3:13 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

Nothing. Listen to Wellington.

 

Monday 3:16 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

You look as if a student has a crush on you again :)

 

Monday 3:17 p.m.  University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

Bugger off.

 

Monday 3:24 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

God, I’m right, aren’t I?!

 

Monday 3:31 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

Don’t you dare ignore me. I can see it in your eyes that I’m right.

 

Monday 3:36 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

Is she even twenty-one? Just out of professional curiosity.

 

Monday 3:38 p.m.  University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Note attached to a printout of the timetable with a paper clip.

 

I see you’re comfortable enough sharing a day planner. In that case, I believe sharing the timetable should not be a problem for you two.

 

Monday 3:39 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Margins of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

Fuck… Fine. Seven o'clock tonight, at Rook. Happy now?

 

Monday 3:41 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Dean’s office. Briefing for the lead teaching staff. Page of Professor of Ethics Emma Portman’s day planner.

 

I hope it’s worth it. If Wellington takes away my bonus because of you being incapable of writing your name on the board without wiggling your arse in front of first-years, my entire family will have dinners at your place from here on in.

 

 

***

 

Tuesday 7:34 a.m. Floor under the door to the Residence Hall 9 of the University of Edinburgh. Snow-white A4 sheet with the footprints across the text left by a pair of slippers.

 

Victoria, I am sorry about that incident with Professor Melbourne. This is probably a bad time but I would like to invite you to cinema. Anna Karenina with Greta Garbo is on at Bobbie. I have heard you are fond of old films. Ring me. Albert.

 

Postscript on the bottom, fine soft sketch pencil, different hand.

 

I begged, I implored, I hinted, I drew posters and charts. I’m waiving all responsibility. I’ve done my best, Vicky. It seems that taking you out to a regular pub is beyond my dear brother’s scope of abilities.

 

 

***

 

Tuesday 9:07 a.m. Upper drawer in Professor William Melbourne’s desk. Page torn out of a Moleskine notebook under empty sandwich box, never used in the last five years.

 

Dear William, I am truly sorry about what happened. I was inexcusably drunk yesterday but what is said is said. I do like you very much and I do think you are wonderful. To be completely honest, absolutely everything I babbled on about over the phone yesterday was true, to the silliest and smuttiest detail. I am ashamed of my inane behaviour and a little bit of that of my idiot flatmates. They are actually quite lovely and I beg you to pretend that you never noticed them butt in and that you never heard their drunken giggling. Surely, they will find higher education useful later on in their lives. As for my words, I understand if you cannot ignore them. But don’t you worry, I am a clever girl. It doesn’t matter what I feel, and even though it is a relief for me to say it out loud, I will not impose my feelings on you. This is the important thing I wanted to say. Thank you for having been so kind to me and I dare hope that we will both find it in ourselves to live through this semester and the exams without giving this incident too much thought.

 

Love, Victoria.

 

 

***

 

Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Pink post-it note.

 

Vic, off with that sour face. It’s only an hour and a half. You have my permission to fantasize about him in the filthiest manner possible. Just look the other way. XXXX Harry.

 

Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Pink post-it note.

 

I say look at Albert. Vicky, no pressure but he has become impossible to share a flat with after you turned him down.

 

Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Blue post-it note.

 

Yes, Ernest, we have all heard you spending the night in Harriet’s room.

 

Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Pink post-it note.

 

Charlie, hey, dude! Yesterday leftover pancakes were a delight. I’d marry you but I’m afraid Nancy would use me as a spool for her sewing machine for that.

 

Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Blue post-it note.


You know I will! This chef is mine, bitches.

Vic, don’t listen to these idiots. Professor M is a reasonable person and he has always been kind to you. It’s going to be all right.

 

Wednesday 4:36 p.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Green post-it note.

 

Guys, thanks for all the support but I have Psychology today, not Political Science.

 

 

***

 

Thursday 5:23 p.m. Library of the University of Edinburgh. Note that fell out of The Life of St John Chrysostom.

 

For a hundredth time: talk to the girl! She is a wonderful and reasonable person, and you are an old cowardly wanker who can’t even find a couple of words to make her feel better. I’m not leaving you alone…

 

Thursday 6:46 p.m. University of Edinburgh. Professor Emma Portman’s office on the ground floor. Coffee shop receipt, balled and thrown right into Emma’s head while she sat by the open window marking test papers.

 

First of all, she is not a girl. She’s almost twenty-five and she has read English Literature for two years at Oxford. That’s how she learned to write such fine elaborate apologies. Me, I studied how to manage old greedy farts.

Second of all, for a hundredth time: fuck off.

 

 

***

 

Friday 3:35 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Green post-it note attached to a Political Science assignment.

 

This is an abomination of a paper. I am genuinely stunned. You are obviously struggling with the subject. Come see me at my flat tomorrow at four if you want.

 

Friday 3:44 p.m. University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science. Lecture hall. Crumpled sheet of ruled paper.

 

FUCK ME

 

 

***

 

Saturday 2:17 p.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Pink post-it note.

 

Vic, wear those heels. Jeans not skirt tho. He might really want to discuss your assignment. Good luck ×××

Saturday 2:17 p.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Pink post-it note.

 

Vicky, wear a push-up bra, he definitely wants to discuss the assignment. Love, Ernest.

 

Saturday 2:17 p.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Blue post-it note.

 

I concur. Bra is paramount to success in the discussion of any assignment. Yours sincerely, Charlie.

 

Saturday 2:17 p.m. Small old rattling fridge in the kitchen of Residence Hall 9, University of Edinburgh. Blue post-it note.

 

Vic, don’t forget to take the books. Just in case he’s really going to talk about the assignment. Rooting for you. Nancy.

 

 

***

 

Sunday 10:45 a.m.  Big metallic color fridge in the flat of Political Science Professor William Melbourne. Spread white paper napkin held by a plain black stationery magnet.

 

Will, I have run off back home because a couple of idiots have burnt half our kitchen down and I am about to be evicted. I’ll call you once I have sorted it out and buried the dead bodies of my flatmates’ boyfriends :) I have discovered that you’re out of coffee, and I suggest we have it somewhere in town. Call Mrs Portman. There’s a note from her that fell out of your pocket, and the contents of that note are not to be disclosed to a student attending her Ethics lectures. But she is clearly concerned about you, please tell her she doesn’t have to be.

By the way, my assignment is rubbish indeed, so we better finish discussing it or at least try to.

 

Lots of love, Vic