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There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), Dialogues, 1954


Brendan just made it back ahead of the featured panelists, bearing Calistogas and trivia. Annie half-heard something about a half-met half-wit and his half-known half-sister who was nearly famous and supposed to be funny. She would have interrupted but she didn't exactly have anything specific to say and by the time he noticed she had something on her mind the program was ready to go.

Over dinner afterwards, she let him talk about the [good] old days, even prompting him with snippets from her remarkable memory. They gossiped, too, about the discussion, mostly speculating on what seemed to be veiled and nuanced antagonism between old comrades. When the topic turned to modern tensions, Brendan moved into his geo-politics/social-science mode, elevating the discussion neatly into abstract theory and diverting it from any emotional connection with the now.

"So Savio thinks there's a major depression coming," he observed. "I guess he reckons the Gulf Crisis is Bush's way of diverting attention from the real issues."

"Poor guy," put in Annie. "He must feel awful, seeing it all come round again when he worked so hard before."

"Well, as he said," countered Brendan, "There's no magic flyer to build a mass movement. There's a tide in the time that produces the people it needs."

This kind of flabby bullshit was not what Annie needed to hear. Oh, it may have been true, and she had no interest in arguing with it, but she didn't really want to detach and discuss what people the time might need and how it might create them, she felt strangely pulled to join in, to act somehow, not trying to shape events so much as trying to be herself and let the time take care of itself. You're either growing or you're rotting, as her friend Jan had told her just the other day. Think if you have to, she might have added, but feel 'cause you must.

She didn't even show Brendan the flyer she'd kept. She didn't know why, but it felt private and she wanted to let whatever seed it had planted germinate before subjecting it to the whithering questions and whencing reasoning of his mind. She had a secret hope now, buried but ready to rise. She wanted it to become a dream, not a plan.