By on Sep 13, 2015 in Cuttings, Fiction

Young woman at university protest

Moira Leibowitz was a force of nature, all long curly hair, shawls and scarves, and the scent of patchouli. We were organizing the grad students that winter — protesting, wearing buttons, threatening to strike. Moira brought her guitar and played songs like “We Shall Overcome” on it, wearing her grey gloves with the fingers cut off, the same gloves that handed out coffee to everyone on the especially cold days. I remember her voice was low and warm, but it carried.

We were too young to realize nothing would come of it all. Sure, they would show up and drink coffee and sing, but putting their fellowships on the line was another matter. Of course, the other university employees knew most of us were just playing at poverty and being exploited for a few years. They weren’t about to hitch their union wagons to our prolonged adolescence. The administration had our number, too. For good measure they threatened the few of us who did shirk our teaching assistant duties on Strike Day with cutting off all support, and after that we just caved.

At that point Moira and I just fell apart. It wasn’t exciting anymore. We weren’t sending each other texts with plans every free moment, or tumbling into her apartment after a meeting with the administration, full of fight and horny as hell. Her bed on the floor with the Indian print tent tacked over it, her brick-and-board bookcases with the scented candles, her fascination with klezmer music, all seemed like a world I was fast outgrowing.

I began to think about going to law school, which I eventually did. Moira was still mad. She refused to teach and had to leave. Last I heard she was a nanny in Manhattan. She’s not on Facebook, but maybe we’ll run into each other some time.

I do think about her, especially since my divorce. My son Brent is 2 now. He visits every other weekend. I send my girlfriend away, put my work on hold, and Brent and I have a grand time walking the dog, hitting the park, what have you. The hard part is the end, when Alison comes to pick him up. He’s watching out for her, and every time a woman with a briefcase walks by, he asks, “Mommy?” until eventually it is Mommy, and off they go.

After that I usually take a brisk walk and think of Moira. Until I shake it off, my tree-lined neighborhood might as well be the surface of the moon.


Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama, with a Ph. D. in English from Yale. Her work can be found in Cacti Fur (forthcoming), Birds Piled Loosely, Something for the Weekend, Sir?, Every Writer, Blue Monday Review, and Untitled, with Passengers. She is the featured poet in issue 2 of Experimementos and has published a novella, Family Values, on Kindle, where her author page is, as well as essays on children’s literature and the American Renaissance. Lorna is associate editor of Gemini Magazine.