Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sex and the Treehouse


When Hana asked to book Fern Forest Treehouse for herself and three friends, H said there wasn’t room, the treehouse is only ninety square feet, he didn’t know how they’d sleep. “Oh, we’ll bring sleeping bags,” she wrote. “Don’t worry—we’ll fit in.” H is a pushover, especially for such youthful enthusiasm. And he thought it sounded like a good time.

When the four gals pulled in from Boston around eleven Friday night, H was waiting up for them, the path to the treehouse lit by solar lamps, the treehouse itself all aglitter with colored lights. From upstairs, I heard excited giggles as he showed them around, more giggles as they climbed into the spa under a sky studded with a million stars. As happens in water at 102 degrees, the giggles calmed to whispers, and eventually all was quiet.

The sun rose clear Saturday morning, warming the treehouse so that the girls were up a little after 7:00 a.m. We were still in bed when I heard water running in the downstairs bathroom, and H and I rolled out to get breakfast ready. When I came downstairs, there they were—Hana, Adrienne, Elizabeth, and Dara. Hana is petite and exotic with South American roots, her black hair curling onto her shoulders.

“You’re Carrie,” I said.

“I am?” she said.

“Yes—you made the reservation.”

Adrienne is tall with legs like a gazelle.

“You’re Miranda,” I said.

“She's the quirky one, right?” Adrienne knew where I was going.

“She’s the lawyer, the logical one.”

"But she's quirky," she insisted.

Sure, Miranda could be quirky.

Elizabeth has long hair and a serious look about her.

“You must be…Samantha,” I said.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

She’d never seen Sex and the City.

“Samantha’s the sexpot,” I said.

“I’m engaged,” she said, setting the record straight.

Dark haired Dara hid behind little glasses.

“That makes you Charlotte,” I said, shaking her hand.

“You ARE Charlotte,” Adrienne said.

“What’s she like?” Dara asked.

“Innocent. Well bred,” I offered. She liked that.

But these were no “Sex and the Treehouse” gals. More like “Science and the Treehouse.” Three of them were classmates at MIT. Hana works as a business management consultant. Adrienne majored in computer robotics and does software development for a dot com startup. Elizabeth is working on her PhD in biochemistry but is about to switch her focus to fluid dynamics, investigating how liquids move, especially oil spills. “I’m a perpetual student,” she said.

The three were on the MIT varsity cross country running team together and ran sixty miles a week, each. “I’m down to about fifteen miles a week now,” Elizabeth said. Hana calls her Finn, her last name, because there were three other Elizabeths in their MIT dorm. Finn fits her. No nonsense. To the point.


H went to Harvard but is impressed with students who come out of MIT and posed with them in his MIT tee shirt. Dara is a Penn grad. Maybe it's not in Cambridge, but Penn is nothing at which to sneeze, especially majoring in biology and Spanish, as Dara did. She and Finn have been friends since third grade, and she spent a summer in Finn’s dorm room at MIT when Finn took an extra class. Dara works for an education consulting nonprofit in Boston, but she’d like to do something with her science background. I have a feeling there’s grad school in her future.

There was talk of innovations in robotic prostheses, of Boston’s International Health Organization, of oil floating in the Gulf, and of running and hiking. I went into the house to get the coffee pot, and when I returned, I heard them gossiping about guys, especially one named Liam.

Okay, so these young women are going to shake up the world. But first there was breakfast to be eaten. And then there was Mt. Abe to be conquered. Later—maybe much later—there will be Liam. And eventually maybe Hana will write a book about it all.

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