not a campus
we climbed the endless, sloping, shaded lawn. my stride matched hers- but only because i was trying. the pace she kept was just a click too fast to be natural to me and i had to concentrate in order to keep up. 'we have a negative selection process.', she instructed. i looked at her square aryan jaw and 1000 mile stare and thought, 'jesus christ, these people have so many rules...'. i watched the main building come into view. it looked like it had once been a beautiful old library on a college campus. scores of attractive and robust young men and women walked with the same unnaturally fast gate, many tightly holding books or brown accordion files full of paper and deep in conversation. no one was smiling. i heard the warm indian summer breeze pass through the leaves of the gargantuan oaks above us before i felt it. i closed my eyes for a moment as it softly brushed my body and lifted the ends of my hair. in that moment i felt certain that i should be parked on a gingham cloth surrounded by picnic food and friends instead of rushing through all this lush, pre-autumn loveliness. 'what does that mean? i finally asked. without looking at me she answered, 'it means we decide everything by process of elimination'. i sucked in a deep breath and pursed my lips to let it it soundlessly. it was only the first hour of the first day and already everything about this place made me feel rebellious. i let my lids slip 1/2 way down over my eyes in a private gesture of contempt. i knew it would be weeks- maybe months, before i was able to leave.