So last time I was writing about how I spotted a stunning young woman with dark, dark hair and gorgeous Mediterranean features in the back of a Victorian literature class in 1979...
The initial meeting hadn’t gone particularly well. There had been some very mild hints of a positive reaction...but mostly she gave me...The Look. You know The Look. Be honest. You’ve seen it. Most of us, male and female and anything non-binary, have gotten it at one time or another. Some of us, indeed, can honestly say that we’ve become quite familiar with The Look. We know it really well. And invite it to birthday parties. And expect greeting cards on major occasions. Like Valentine’s Day--“Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, You’re short, dumpy, funny looking, have no personality to speak of, and, for God’s sakes, use a breath mint. And none of that rhymes but, well, heck, did you think you deserved poetry? Sheesh.”
Anyway, the rest of the class that night went well enough. The lecture was interesting, and the assigned readings seemed intriguing. The class ended and everyone filed out.
I ended up exiting just about the same time as the beautiful dark-haired woman. We were even walking, roughly, in the same direction across the campus. Because hope springs eternal and I’m a glutton for punishment, as well as dumb as a brick, I decided to take a risk and speak to her. “So, what did you think of the class?” I said, or something like that, equally stupid.
“It was fine,” she said, and put on a burst of speed that left me standing in the dust. Impressive, really. I wondered what she did in the measured mile.
After that, I figured I didn’t have much chance with the dark-haired woman. Like I say, I figured I was out of her league anyway. So, move on...
But...as time went on...strangely enough... I discovered I was drifting closer to The Dark Haired Woman. We seemed, more and more, to be taking the same classes (even though she was not an MFA-candidate. She was after an MA, and later a Ph.D.), and to be going to the same parties and hanging out with the same people.
Somewhere along the line, I learned her name. It was “Martha.” Or, more precisely, “Martha Trudeau.” Or, to put it in full, Martha Michelle Trudeau.
About the photo: for once, this actually has something to do with the story. This is us taking a selfie while we were in Massachussets this summer. It was at Rockport (more about later), not Amherst, but at least it was the right state and the right year.
“Trudeau!” Of course, I thought. That explained her coloring. French. Or, rather, Quebecois. I later learned that her father’s family was from Quebec, though she, herself, identified as Scots, following her mother’s line.
And then, one day, sort of by accident, we met on campus. We were both about an hour early for a class. For some reason, not expecting anything to come from it, I asked her if she’d like to grab a coffee while we waited. To my enormous surprise, she agreed.
We went to a cafe. I bought two coffees. We talked for a short while. Not long. And it wasn’t about anything important. And soon she said she really ought to head out. Her class was calling her. And she was on her way.
But, before she left, she gave me a smile. An absent-minded smile. Not a meaningful smile. Not an important smile. But a smile.
And I realized I had done it...finally...after no little effort. I had broken into the Friend Zone. Not more than that. But way further than I had been before.
Right, I thought, as I watched her go. Now...now...Ms. Martha Michelle Trudeau...things are about to get interesting.
For the both of us.
More to come.
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