[following Pt 2]
‘Dr. Woods’, Terri interjected, just a little piqued at how she had suddenly lost his attention.
‘No. Richard is my name. And you are …?’
‘Starchild, meet Dr Richard Woods’.
The expected words didn’t materialise. Richard breathed a sigh of relief. He leant down, putting his face to the child’s. It was strangely still.
‘Hello Starchild. I’ll bet your daddy’s proud of you!’ Tamarind shot him a look.
Richard froze, but the cloud passed.
‘I know how this is going to sound’, she began …
‘Now let me guess …’ he smiled, ‘You’ve read my books, my papers, but it’s more than that, you felt this deep-seated need to connect with me, as if Gaia herself …’ Tamarind turned and walked two steps. Stopped. Turned again.
‘You for real?’ She said. Hands on hips, she stared. The star turn held up his hands, palms facing forwards.
‘Sorry, sorry … I appreciate that these are deeply-held beliefs, and I, well, I really must be more respectful.’
‘Cogito, ergo amore.’ She swirled the words around her mouth, eyes closed. ‘You didn’t do Latin at school, did you? It’s amo, not amore. Amore is Italian: amor the infinitive. Amo the first person indicative. Cogito, ergo amo: I think, therefore I love. A smile spread across Richard’s face as she spoke. It vanished the instant she re-opened her eyes and fixed them on his, her pupils narrowing. ‘You’ve got some fucking chutzpah. Why are you here if it’s just bull?’
‘Ah,’ he said, turning to address the ever-darkening face of the organiser. ‘Terri, why don’t you take Tamar to the green room, I’ll fend off this mob with a few signatures and then we’ll speak.’ He smiled, turned, and strode into the fray.
Terri looked at Tamarind, who nodded, and followed her through a side door. After they left the main hall, the clamouring faded slowly until they reached the Green Room. The door cut off the last remnants of Richard’s popularity. Terri poured herself a glass of wine, offering one to her guest. It was declined.
Terri and Tamarind sat, silently, until the silence grew too loud.