“Hello!”said the girl.”I’m Sue.””Goodday!” he replied smiling,using an old-fashioned phrase. He loved children andwas good with them.
Only the occasions were rare. And people were strange. Asif they did not care if anyone besides them loved their children. He could notunderstand that. Like many other things, anyway.”Sue is short for Susan, is itnot?””Yesit is.””Susanis a holy name from the Bible.
“”Ihate it,” said the girl, scowling.”Really?Andwhy is that?””Thereare already four girls named Susan in my class.””Butonly thou art called Sue?” He was using the biblical ‘thou’ and the oldsentence structure.”Ifthat were the case, everything would be alright. But two others are also calledlike that.We never know which one is which.
“”Thatis really unfortunate,” he admitted.”Bloodyunfortunate.” He smiled. On her lips that was not a curse.
Rather a briefdescription of a fact which has no remedy.”I’mSusan Lee actually. But so is Susan Lee Alvin. It’s just that her name comesbefore mine in the register, so I had to be Sue, and she’s Sue Lee.””Youknow what, Sue,” he said thoughtfully, “that is not so impossible to fix.”Shelooked at him with distrust.
“How can that be fixed?””Onesimply changes their name.””Aname can’t be changed,” she said brusquely. The man with grey hair was nodifferent from other grownups who believe that kids always care aboutplaying.He just looked different.
And he spoke in a funny and strange way.”Whycould it not be changed?””Idon’t know. I just know it can’t.””Andif it could, how would thou like to be called?” He again used the Old Testament’thou’.Shegave it a thought. “Ariadne””Whyexactly Ariadne?””That’sfrom a story. A man had to go into a labyrinth and kill the bull who atepeople.
The labyrinth was so long and tangled that nobody had come out of itbefore. Ariadne gave him a ball of thread which he was unwinding while lookingfor the bull. When he found the bull and killed it, saving the town, he wentback to the entrance winding the thread. “”Alright,”he said seriously,”I will call you Ariadne.””ButI’m Sue, Susan, Susan Lee!”Heleaned towards her, took her by the hand and said to her in confidence: “Forthose who do not know thy real name. I know it, for me you shall be Ariadne.””Alright,”she laughed.
She liked the game. It resembled a fairytale. The man with greyhair was different after all. “But how will I call you?””Weshall see,” he said confusedly.
“Which name dost thou like?””Theseus.That’sthe man who killed the bull and left the Labyrinth with Ariadne’s thread.””Oh,”he exclaimed,”that is very strange.””What’sstrange?””Thatthat is really my name.””ButTheseus is a Greek name and you don’t look like a Greek.””Andwhat do Greeks look like?” he asked.”Idon’t know.
” She got confused. “Different.””Yousee,” he said almost apologetically,”it happened. It is a long story.
“”Tellit to me.”Hehesitated.”Oh,please.
I could be called to board the plane any moment.”Theman with grey hair got upset,”I thought you came to watch planes?””Whywould you think that? I’m not crazy about planes. I’m traveling, actually.
“Shewas hopping around, looking askance at him.Thewind lifted her kilt, revealing her smooth, thin thighs. She thought it wasfunny how he watched her every movement.”Whereare you travelling to?” He had to shout. An ever deepening rumble was comingfrom the runway, like an earthquake.”Tothe beach,” she was shouting. “But the plane to Nice is late.””Youare not going on your own?”Sheshook her head.
“With my Mum.””Wellwhere is your mother?””Shewent to ask how long we’ll still have to wait.”Therumble turned into a roar. Swissair Boeing 727 took off, shaking the airthrough which the Sun was refracting.”Itlooks like the white whale, Moby Dick,” said Sue. On the other side, Concordwas dignifiedly taxiing along converging track towards the runway.
“And thatone looks like an arctic wolf.”