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It all began in the first semester that followed Christmas in my Sophomore year of College. I traversed the same familiar oak plaid corridors, with the same familiar feeling of dread that always hung over me at the beginning of a new term. This feeling of dread was exacerbated by the fact that I had just been through the ordeal of another night’s restless sleep. It was always the same image that haunted these recent dreams, I could barely make out the shape of him, nothing more than a fading silhouette and yet prominent enough to keep me intrigued. The young, girlyish side of me wondered if he would emerge from the shadows like those beautiful actors did in the movies
ready to whisk their leading lady away on some romantic but highly improper elopement.
“Jay? You ready for this? I hear Professor Clark is awful strict on late students,” my best friend Maddie interrupted my abstract train of thought with a face etched with worry. It turned out that Professor Clark was strict on tardiness – especially from women. I distinctly remember him chiding us for being late – apparently ten minutes early is on time, on time is late and ten minutes late is simply unacceptable, at least for women. As always a million intricate details swirled around in my overzealous brain, taking in little of what Professor Clark was actually saying but understanding quite clearly his intended meaning. Words like ‘homely’, ‘lady like’, ‘proper’ and‘fashionable’ delivered to me the full extent of his ideal for women and from our very first meeting, I knew Professor Clark felt that certainly they had no place in an academic classroom. Maddie too caught on to this but only after witnessing the course of his first lecture, as we both watched student after student arrive late – the women chided with almost exactly the same speech delivered to Maddie and I, the tardy men however were hardly reprimanded until at last one wondered in fifty minutes after class had officially begun, male of not Professor Clark
seemed to think this was inexcusable.
When you have lived as long as I have, you may find that certain types of memories begin to fade. For me the first to go were first impressions. Never could I remember how, when or where I met and became friends with some of the most important people in my life – that is except him, the inexcusably late boy. Not because it was so extraordinary – sparks flying across the room and all sorts of such clichéd things – I think perhaps what cemented this particular event in my long term memory was how unspectacular the whole thing was; oh certainly I felt sorry for him, but I also felt slightly resentful towards the stranger for giving Professor Clark and I something to agree on, after all I had to admit being fifty minutes late to anything is rather rude and when you consider how much we all wanted to make positive impressions on the people who would be marking this semesters assignments, pretty darn foolish as well
The most prominent feature I remember about him was his eyes. Smiling, carefree blues. They remained impressively unflinching during Professor Clark’s onslaught. They didn’t seem to settle on any particular spot in the room, least of all Professor Clark’s face. Then again I couldn’t tell if
there was anyone place in which his gaze would settle, not without looking like I was staring at him. So he sat at the desk to my right, occasionally scrawling in his notebook, flexing his long fingers. When the class came to an end he was the first to stand up and flip his flat cap over his cornflower hair. Disappearing before I could muster enough courage to discuss the joys of having
As I recall, the next month of classes with Professor Clark passed in much the same routine. Maddie and I tried our darnedest to be Professor Clark’s definition of early – the blue eyed gentleman however, did not. He continued to arrive late to every single class, delivering the same apathetic stare to Professor Clark as he chided him with all the ferocity of a hurricane. He was always allowed to take his seat at his usual desk to my right, unwind swept. Not even slightly dishevelled. It wasn’t until one particularly stormy Friday that Professor Clark finally snapped.
I'm sorry if this is too long... I didn't know how much to post?!!? I hope you enjoyed it a little!