Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm thankful for PWMIMBLCWRWAGTWBWAN Getting Married


Last fall I had the opportunity to be enrolled in an English pre-req we like to call ENG 292, or the second half of all British literature. 16 weeks to cover all of it. In the English major at BYU you have to take British Lit 1, British Lit 2, and American Lit before you can take any real classes. Think of them like classes named Biology or Physics or Health. Very very very broad.

I had a man named Westover for British Lit 1 last fall. It was his first semester teaching, and he hummed in vibrato a lot between sentences. Emma can confirm this. We read Frankenstein and talked about Mary Shelley a lot in that class.

It was a good class. We talked about things that I liked, so, I liked the class. That's usually how it works. It was also a class full of pretty laid back, pleasant people. There was the redheaded guy with the last name of Snyder with whom I exchanged favorite brands of designer denim, a girl who worked upstairs in the same building as the class who was smiley and always in secretary clothes eating something out of a tupperware. There was another girl who was tiny and round, always with a giant Mountain Dew, and somehow she always had one headphone in--she was everlastingly indignant and talking about her mission. Our discussions were peppered with her outlandish comments.
A plodding row of married guys sat in the back row, one with a combover and leather jacket, another, tall, with the ever-present Red Sox hat on, another redheaded and flushed who always laughed uneasily. They were nice and helped me study for midterms that I probably would have bombed otherwise. This was our cozy right half of the classroom, which I never ventured out of--the left side was all the weirdos who would never comment or do their reading.

The last installment on this familiar side of the classroom was two people: one boy, and one girl. They both sat against the far right wall, she just behind him. Both brunettes, she was tan, he was pale. She had a face like mine, with big features, and he looked a bit like an intellectual Beaker, long-faced. They didn't know each other just as well as the rest of us didn't. I knew the girl from somewhere, wondered who she was for a few class periods, and then figured out she'd dated the older brother of my bleach-blond high school student body VP boyfriend. I'd seen her on their lawn with the Brother once, watching a movie on a laptop. I thought she was so pretty and nice.

The boy who would sit in front of her in British Lit always did his reading. I'd presume to say he was probably the smartest person in the class. He was thin and wore sweaters and round glasses. He always had something intelligent to say, always, and read out loud in the best read-out-loud voice. I was completely enthralled, and so was Westover, presumably, with this voice, because he always asked the boy to read aloud.

I'm a nosy person.

But so are most English majors. Actually, the entire English department. Actually, I'd venture to guess it's a requirement for anyone in the college of Humanities, along with Love of Pretty, Deep-Looking Cover Art and Hatred of Anything Math Related (speaking of, my Shakespeare teacher brought a graph up on the screen yesterday and my entire class went into loud moans and about pooped their pants and screamed and covered their faces) and Serious Emotional Overbearance Problems.

This Boy and Girl began a friendship in the class. We figured that by about the fifth week of class, they'd at least been on a date. Tupperware and Pepper Girl and Snyder and I would watch these two delightedly throughout class, as she'd turn to say something to him and he'd smile back into her eyes. There was something going on over there. We loved staring unabashedly from three feet away as the two of them became Something or Other right there in front of us. He was just the coolest, the smartest, and she was just the prettiest and obviously the nicest. They were just the est together.

After a while, we forgot about their relationship, it seemed to become stagnant, no showing of affection, no changes. No in-class declarations of love. Their mediocrely interesting in-class flirtations became as habitual for us (the watchers) as Pepper Girl's loud comments or Westover's humming or Harry Potter inevitably showing up in the conversation at least once a class period or the perpetual, stony (but friendly) silence of the married man English majors (a rare breed) on the back row. The little scrabble of people I sat in figured Boy and Girl had been on a date or two and left it at that, because nothing seemed to change.

On the last day of class, we met in the campus library to geek over some Special Collections, first editions of Dickens, a first edition of something or other owned by Jerome Kern, stuff like that. It was a nice end to the class. I wouldn't say any of us in the group had become snuggily close, but we got along fine. We assembled in the plush basement room of the library, surrounded by steep shelves of books, comforted, and I noticed that Boy and Girl weren't there. Neither of them. Hmmm.





Then they walked in holding hands.

And then we all wet our pants with happiness at least in our minds. We spent a half hour after class standing by the metal detectors discussing the happiness, after we watched them walk away, hands entwined, shaking our heads happily with big fat grins on our faces.

And now they're getting married.

And whenever I see either of them in the hallways at school, I smile and add an extra bounce to my step afterwards, because it's fun to know them and know that they met in a class that I was in and know that they fell madly in love. It's kind of awesome.

Up next: Oh, you know. Something. Any suggestions? What are you guys thankful for? Gimme your thankful food, your thankful book, and your thankful clothing item. Or something.

6 comments:

Anna said...

Of all the BYU love stories I’ve heard, this is one of the few I really like. So cute!

Liesl said...

Currently, I'm thankful for teachers with a sense of humor and make their class something to look forward to. My Doctrine and Covenants teacher made an interesting point about forgiveness by illustrating two stories about people who were wronged in their lives and were able to forgive those who had abused them, but still desire justice for those wrongdoers. "So next time you're on the highway and you're behind that jerk who's going too slow...maybe you should think twice about flipping him off. Just an idea."

ingrid lola nilsson said...

Julie, I love reading your blog. I have two things to say: a.)Being the elitist Comparative Literature major that I am (I cant help it, its rubbed off on me ...) I have to say I am SO glad that you are a cool English major and don't write really flowery sentimental things with weird metaphors. Your writing is great. b.) I'm thankful for the book Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann.

Mandy said...

Ummm I am just like this, and also an English Major at BYU :) Seriously, I love love, and seeing two people I know but don't know find it.

Glad to know I'm not alone in this.

ingrid lola nilsson said...

Actually, I'd like to change part a of my comment. You do write about emotions and use metaphors but in a very unique and original way, and it works. Also: Mandy, I admit I looked at your blog and I deem you to be a cool English major as well.

Princess Pointful said...

Okay, I loved this little tale. Maybe it is the people watcher in me that always wants to shout "I just knew you were secretly in love!" when I see it.