“All right, Elizabeth if you want to work one semester at college in New York, take this job.” It was strange to hear sudden change in Lota’s voice. She didn’t blame her girlfriend, didn’t try to tell this was a bad idea. She was absolutely calm.
Bishop was sure something was wrong, but she was afraid to ask. She didn’t want to play with fire. Lota could change her decision again.
Maria Lota knew very well why she started to act this way. It was her secret, Maria’s mystery. Bishop would know everything when she sees it her own eyes. Lota wasn’t going to say anything.
Elizabeth thought she knew everything what future stored for her. She was sure no unexpected things could happen.
Lota didn’t know everything too, but at least she knew more. Separately from all this, she was much smarter than many people whom she knew, including Elizabeth.
Elizabeth didn’t doubt that everything had been planned.
Bishop heard somebody called, “Professor Soares?”
“What?! It couldn’t be truth. Her Lota stayed in Brazil. This person is wrong. Besides, there can be somebody else, other Soares who teaches here.” But no, there she was staying—a very beautiful Lota de Macedo Soares—with a few female students in front of her. The girls seemed to be bewitched by beauty of their Professor, or better to say, Professora.
Elizabeth was very jealous. She suddenly felt the urge to be one of these students. She wanted Maria to chose her in any situation. Besides, the idea of the Professor and her female student together was very appealing. In spite of this, she decided to look at Lota from afar but the way nobody could notice.
Maria was really happy. Elizabeth could never imagine Lota feeling herself so good without her. However, truth cannot be denied.
That day Maria left quickly, not leaving any possibilty for Bishop to talk to her.
“What?! Who is this young woman staying with my Elizabeth? It seems they have something more than a simple conversation. Why this damn woman touched Elizabeth’s hand? I won’t let this continue.”
“Professor Bishop,” Lota came closer, “I need to talk to you.”
“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth told her interlocutor before she stepped aside.
“Maria, what has happened?” Bishop didn’t care if somebody could hear them.
“Ah, ‘Maria’, such a change in behaviour. It’s me who should ask what has happened. You seemed very pleased talking to her. You looked almost like I was there instead of her.”
“Maria, no, it’s not like this. I just—” Elizabeth tried to sound confidently.
“You need me to look after you. You have to admit it to yourself. I’ve always wanted the best for you. Don’t do anything you’ll regret.”
“Yes, I need you.” Elizabeth sighed. Then she lowered her voice and added, “I love you even more as Professor.”
“Don’t do anything wrong, and you can have your Professor,” Maria answered quietly.
A young woman was standing in the corner, watching two Professors discussing something. She was holding a book that she supposed to give as a present to one of the two—Elizabeth Bishop. The book contained love poems and had an inscription written by her.
“Too late,” the woman murmured. “Professor Soares, por quê?” She asked herself, suddenly switching to Portuguese in the middle of the sentence.
The woman knew nothing about Bishop’s life before this University except facts. She had no idea that Elizabeth had been living with Lota for more than a decade. She didn’t know a lot. However, she knew the most important thing. The book would stay with her.
Maria Carlota Costallat de Macedo Soares saved own life, but she had no idea about it.
Life goes on.