Sunday, December 18, 2011

across the pond

Eight years ago I lived in England, surrounded by sexiling girls I pretended to understand, cussing poetry teachers who told us to "shut the fuck up," and a boy with blonde hair and acne who liked soccer (*swoon*) and plays (*double swoon*) and who I quietly liked but didn't feel compelled to tell him so.

I especially like remembering late-summer afternoons, after law exams and writing exercises: I'd sit on the steps of the Bodleian Library with a McDonalds' ice cream cone, loving my prime vantage point for wedding photo shoots. Two times a week, when I had afternoons off, I wandered dusty Oxford streets, visiting every museum within two miles of St. Peter's. During lunch I'd avoid the cafeteria and eat sandwiches on dormitory steps with David, my friend from Guam. He and I poured over The Guardian newspaper and listened to make-out stories from Marie (with the hot-pink hair) and drunk Dr. Peppers. Sometimes I'd avoid David and Marie all together and I'd wander over to Modern Art Oxford (eating my sandwich along the way) where I re-watched a bizarre silent movie, projected on the white wall and then, growing comically bored, I'd watch the movie-watchers instead.

And on my last day in England, my law professor named Paz hollered at me from three stories up. I ran across the cobblestones and stood just beneath her window; she threw something out that landed by my my shoes (green Converse). I picked it up and when I looked up I saw she had shut her window and was waving and smiling from inside. She stepped backward out of view--that was the last I ever saw her (although we remained cross-Atlantic pen pals)--and I looked in my hands and untaped the plastic wrapping. Inside were two Chilean earrings. That afternoon I had a palm-sweaty public presentation for my law class--the culmination of the course. In a note, scrawled inside, Paz told me she was channeling good vibes and should wear the earrings. To this day, that little-note-thrown-out-the-third-story-window is one of the most Classically Romantic gestures I've ever experienced.

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