Thursday, March 17, 2011

Their Secret Lives

From outside they look stoic enough.

But Hart and Longworth are making eyes at each other from across the way knowing, in that way they do, that they are the most attractive and belong together.
Longworth is that skinny girl who always likes to be seen in between larger girls to make herself feel better.
Hart needs that giant atrium to hold his ego and preens facing the sunrise every morning, secure in his modernity.
Dirk is blindly loyal to Hart's charismatic charms, clinging to him, constantly seeking his approval, playing the class clown.
Russell tags along because there's no one else, perched as he is on a vast wasteland of green.

Cannon glances at Russell shyly while she fends off advances from the gawky nerd next door, that guy who's always lending her books to read as if the book will somehow convey his love.
Speaking of nerds, the Court glances coolly around at her colleagues with the smug knowledge that she is the smartest one there. No one talks to her out of intimidation. She thinks everyone hates her and ignores them, thus fulfilling the secret intuition.

The East wing of the Gallery stays smugly out of politics and concerns himself with The Aesthetic. Under his tousled thick hair and black-rimmed glasses he sprawls carefully across his chair and affects a fascinated a look while the American Indian museum weaves beautiful stories of Time before Now. The two of them sip exotic teas and exchange philosophical paradigms while Rayburn strains to hear them over the Botanical Gardens.

You could stand at the edge of their conversation and be completely ignored for 20 minutes. Dirk calls it "getting I.M. Pei'ed" and he and Hart laugh uproariously as though it were the funniest thing since the Animal House midnight showing.
Sewall-Belmont overhears their jokes and rolls her eyes contemptuously at the buffoons she must share space with.
Russell feigns a smile at the boys jokes and turns to the north, ostensibly to smoke a cig. But he just stares at Burnham's Union Station, a fine speciman of marble, classical, unpretentious in his beauty.
Russell sighs and lines up at C St., ready to dash through the parks at Union's casual beckon.
O, the scandal that would be!

Rayburn, underneath the love-handles and tough-girl exterior, wants desperately to eschew the political world and join the academic deep-thinkers on the Mall. Realizing that she lacks the intellectual acumen, she retreats into her emotional depth, her confusing corridors of partisan sophistry, contenting herself with her expert wonkery, acquired unwillingly over the many years.

The Capitol, matronly and austere, uncaring how the work is done, just wanting it on her desk by COB. She is the Queen Bee, the hub, and she wears her position regally. She sees a younger version of herself in ambitious, beautiful Longworth, but she retains a soft spot for Cannon--soft-spoken, diligent, refreshingly lacking in self-awareness.

And Madison Library tries to hand Cannon a book about anthropomorphism. She's not having any of it.

by Jackie