(possible story line)
Responses to Emerson and Thoreau are due in my mailbox no later than four tomorrow afternoon. I will not be here Wednesday so therefore, no class, I smile as a majority of my students try to cage in their secret joy, After Thanksgiving break, we will continue on with Walt Whitman, so you may want to skim his biography in between bites of turkey and stuffing, Once again, I smile at my class that is already bundling themselves up for the cold air, Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. Some of them echo the same closing and talkatively leave the auditorium.
Miss ________, I wanted to thank you for encouraging us to go to see that poet the other night at the Ramada- She was fabulous. Jenny beams from behind her cat- eye rims and throws her long knitted scarf around her neck for a second time.
Well, You are most certainly welcome. I found her just as intriguing. Listening to her makes me want to write again.
Oh, Same here- well, have a great break. My parents are probably waiting for me at the dorms... I tell her to drive safely and eat plenty.
As I pack up my items into my briefcase, I let myself daydream a vision of seeing him walking into my room and surprising me. I know that I shouldnt do that to myself, but once in awhile I think of him and wonder where he is now and how he is. No matter how angry I have been, I know I still love him. It makes me feel so weak to know that, but it is the truth and I cant deny that to myself. Better to live in truth and pain than denial and false happiness. I buckle the briefcase closed and remember that he gave it to me for my birthday. But within that same moment I realize that I have changed and learned so much- I hardly think hed recognize my brain anymore if he were to see me.
The air outside cuts through my parka and nips at my running nose. Approaching the English building, I recognize a fellow student from last year. As his name, Michael, enters my memory, I recall the crush I had on him.
Sybil! Hey! How are you? As he strolls toward me, I feel that same floating feeling that I had for him all year as we studied side by side for every class. I thought he had left after we both got our Masters degrees last summer.
Well, Hi stranger! Where did you run off to? I havent seen you in eons it seems. I put my things on the ground to let him hug me. The hug is silly, parka against parka, but brushing up against his cheek and curly hair gives me goosebumps. I smile and feel my cheeks glow even more red in the cold.
I missed you too, He smiles and I melt inside. He was always so very good at flirting, I needed to get away from things here, not you of course, but my ex- girlfriend. I went to live in the cities for a bit with a friend of mine and worked at carpentry business.
Oh, With a Masters degree in English why not? I giggle.
Smartass, He grins and winks as I wonder what will come of this, Are you teaching then? Should I be calling you Miss _____?
Yes, I am and youd love my classes because I am just so very interesting.
Oh, I always knew you would be. Ego boost for a week right there!
I am teaching American Literature, Creative Writing 111, Poetry, and Freshmen English 110.... I pause and realize I never did get one of my first questions answered, What are you doing up here? He shuffles his feet and then looks up at me.
You know Carter is retiring from the highschool dont you? Carter was his favorite English teacher.
Oh no, I didnt- Are you applying for his job in the spring? He would be in the same town as me- I was letting my hopes up fly upwards and I couldnt stop them.
Actually, he just got diagnosed with cancer and will be stopping at Christmas time to be with family, go through chemotheraphy.. all that. I would love his job, but, wow, what shoes to fill Sybil... He looked contemplative about it all. So would I, I suppose. Filling Mr. Walls shoes, for me, would be such a challenge.
Youre going to get it, Michael, I said abruptly and then felt my nose slowly going numb, Want to head up to my office and talk about it over some coffee or tea? He nodded and grabbed some of my books for me.
So how does it feel to be such a young professor? And such a beautiful one I might add, too? I smile and move over to the railing to let two girls pass. Another Ego Boost- boy was I set for a month now! One of the girls stares at me as I try to make eye contact again with Michael across the staircase.
Well, the students, I think, find me easier to talk to, but yet look up to me because I have more education. I notice how my voice changes from flirtatious to intellectual and Michaels face lightens with the fluctuation as if it is a complement to him. And it is in a way. I always felt comfortable being both the girl and intellectual sidekick to him last year. I kept wondering where this conversation would lead. To my apartment after dinner that night? Or even just coffee now and then. I was open to anything with him.
Once in my office, he oohed and aahed over my collection of books from my summer searches, looked curiously at the photos and frames of Marcus, my family, and my best friends all over my walls, and talked with me well into the afternoon.
Sybil, are you and Marcus still together? It felt as if he was able to read my glances as he looked at the photos. He could still read me and it scared me. Could he see my crush and feelings for him on my wide forehead as if they appeared on a movie screen for all to view?
I uncrossed and crossed my corduroy covered legs and looked into his eyes to respond to him. Marcus had broken up with me and ditched town half way through the spring semester- just when I was finishing up my degree- just when I needed him the most- just when I could feel myself wanting to be with HIM for the rest of my life. I had hid it from Michael the rest of that semester, plus I didnt see him much so it made it simple to disquise my despair and sadness as stress and frustration about what to do after graduation.
No, Michael, He nodded and I realized that he wanted more than that as an answer, He broke up with me last semester and went off with someone. At least, that is what he told me, Michael pulled his chair closer and grabbed my hand, I still hurt and think of him often. He left when I needed the most support. But, I have learned much from it you know.... I feel so different as a person.
You have changed. I can tell..... Why didnt you tell me? I wanted to tell him- because I had a crush on you but I couldnt snatch the words from my lungs.
I didnt want to burden you- It was graduation time and everyone was so stressed, plus you were tangled up with Sid. When you left then too, I was so crushed, Michael. It was one thing to lose Marcus, but then you. This summer was difficult, but I started to do yoga and write a lot more. I healed myself I suppose. He lifted my hands to his mouth and kissed each one.
Would you let me take you out to dinner tonight? I said yes of course and walked him out to his car, which was nicely located by the building of my next and last class that day.
Boy, did you SEE how that chick was drooling over that guy? Amy comments to me outside of the English Building.
Well, fuck, did you SEE him? Damn- nice ass and that HAIR.... Reminds me of Tom. Are we doing something tonight? I reply back thinking of what to wear tonight rather than my chemistry test and English paper that are coming up after Thanksgiving break, I need a beer.
Allie, it is fucking NOON! I shrug and imagine the taste of a Budwieser going down as I lay and watch MTV on my couch.
Lets ditch Astronomy at 3 and go home after our one o clock classes.
No, you SO need to go to Astronomy Allie- You didnt go last week, remember? I shrug again and stick my hands farther up the arms of my parka. I left my gloves in Amys car AGAIN. I am awesome atforgetting- Why dont they have a class in that?
Yeah, yeah... You know my MOM does exist. I dont need two. Hey, did you see that hottie in the Union today with the dreadlocks..... WOW. Amy shakes her head and parts from me at the next intersection claiming to have to meet up with her honey in some science building. She doesnt have a man- shes going to study, what a freak.
I make my way to the Food Court and chow down some food that I cant really identify, but it tastes good. Not as good as beer, but it will do. I start to feel sluggish and find a couch in the Student Center to lay on for a bit.
When I wake up, the clock pretty much says You are SO late for class DIPSHIT!.... So, what do I do? I walk home to our cool house and open a beer, sit on my awesome couch, and watch MTV.
Amy gets home at 5:34 and doesnt even yell at me. I am shocked, but decide to leave it be.
What is going on tonight? I yell to her in the bathroom. She opens the door and is curling her short hair AGAIN. I walk in to inspect my face and melon. Doing good for how fast I got up. My long brown hair could use a brushing, but I put on more mascara, ask Amy to order a pizza ON ME, and put on some baggy jeans.
HEY honeys- Mama is HOME! John is having a Thanksgiving keggar tonight. We are invited babes!! Rebecca yells ripping off her jacket as she shoves herself into the entryway through the door.
Awesome. I say and grab my third beer from the fridge. I toss Becky one and her and I gossip about who will be there. Of course, Id like Tom to be there, but she does not let me in on that information.
The next few hours consist of beer, doing up ourselves to look GOOD, and loud music. Not just good old, nice girl music, but music that would send our parents, mainly our mothers, straight to church to pray for our blackened souls.
Oh shit, I have got to go to the bank for cash. John wants five bucks a cup tonight guys... Rebecca reminds us and so we jump fashionably into her sports car and head uptown. We stop at a red and I see the same couple that was flirting on the staircase that afternoon sitting in a fancy schmancy restaurant on Broadway. I dont let it bother me much because, A) I am drunk, B) They are old and dont have much fun anymore I am betting, and C) I am about to have the greatest time of my life (I tell myself that before every DAMN party).
Rob Zombie comes on the radio and we blast it all the way to Johns. As we get out, I see Tom and he is looking FINE. Inside the house, the music is pumping happiness, excitement, and love throughout the bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms. Tom and I find a fairly quiet spot in the third floor bathroom. How romantic, huh? But that was the site of our first kiss.
You look.... wow, Sibbs. I blush and open my door for him to come in. I had decided to wear something a little on the sexy side and as he walks in, he keeps his eyes on me and not the simplisticness of the surroundings I have recently created. Enya is playing in the background and I offer him a beer. He accepts and finally takes his eyes from me to see my Cannondale bike, my baby Macintosh, and my stereo system, the only showy things in my possession. Well, besides my car.
So, where are you taking me tonight? I ask giving him his Heineken. He winks and says it is a surprise.
Is that your Beetle out there in the driveway? I nod.
Purchased her after graduation as a gift to myself and to brighten my spirits a bit. He smiles.
You take good care of yourself, Sibbs. I sit down beside him and the next hour is filled with joking around and serious conversation about different things. Mainly life. He fills me in more on his relationship with Sidney. She was quite clingy and wanted so much out of life. Michael was more on the simple side and as he commented on how much he loved my apartment- its sparseness, but yet beautiful clusters of personality- it dawned on me how much we were alike. Last year we got along so well, but definitely saw different ends of the straws when it came to literature or teaching- but it added so much to our conversing. I try to talk about Marcus, but he senses my frustration with it and pats my hand during a silence.
All in time.... He glances at his watch, Lets get something to eat. Then you can spill your guts to me. I grin and get up to grab my coat. As I turn from the closet, he catches my cheek and kisses it lightly. It sends a chill from my face to between my legs and almost have to shake it off.
Where are you staying? I inquire as we slip into his Honda.
With my brother and his rommate until I find a place. I immediately feel my heart jump. So he was staying in town FOR SURE?
There is a space opening up in my building. As soon as I hear myself say it, I feel foolish. But he winks at me while taking a right onto Broadway and says:
That would be fabulous.
Once seated at ____________, he leans over as if to confess something to me.
Sybil, I knew that you were going to end up being a great teacher and I knew, just from being with you last year, that you were going to stay here in Dulselth. You loved it so much- this area and the people on campus. I took it as a complement to me, having been from here and so my little secret is that I didnt just happen to run into you today. My little cousin Julie has you for a class and told me your schedule. I felt so honored and yet silly for not having known this.
So, youve been spying on me? What else have you found out? I shoot a toothy smile at him and he replies the same.
Well, He pretends to roll up his sleeves, Julie said all the guys in her class undress you in their minds and that you actually make her want to write more than ever before, I cover my mouth with my hand and giggle. He winks at me and I suddenly feel like I am in one of my dreams I have been having these last months. He is sweeping me off my feet and I told myself to not let this happen. I am sure my face turned suddenly into concern before him because of these thoughts. His face changed too.
What is wrong? Did I say something- Oh- well maybe not ALL of them undress you in their minds.... but, He pauses and looks me in the eyes, I know I would. I smile once again and he laughs in celebration. We ordered dinner, a well prepared one I must add. I tried to eat everything, but he was filling me with so much hope and promise and I became hungry for him, not even for chocolate mousse, just for Michael.
I kept wondering what would happen next... my watch showed that it was ten and although I had an early English 110 class the next morning, I wanted to spend the whole night with Michael. For once in the past months, I wasnt thinking of Marcus and it was as if he had disappeared from all my memory. I wanted the night to never end.
After paying the bill, we walked out to his car quietly and as he started the engine he turned to me looking like he was thinking really hard. I read his mind.
Want to try out my Cannondale? I started to laugh just as I said the words and he winked.-------