I remember when he walked into the room and I lost my breath, just like that. I remember the day he wore velvet slacks. I'm sure they were velvet, how would I make that up? Velvet slacks with a blue denim shirt and there was this pulse in my throat that hadn't been there before. It had to do with that velvet and the long hair and those wrists and that strange, non-Southern, barely American accent.
I remember when spring came and the windows were open because there was no air conditioning in the hundred year old building. We were tough, not privileged, girls. He came into the room in shorts that hugged his legs along his thighs and I was supposed to be falling in love with Yeats but I was falling in love with the tall man telling me about the Irish uprising. I was wishing for an uprising of my own, looking at the dark hair on his wrists, just next to the hand that held the anthology of British and American poetry.
I had been engaged once, in a nonchalant sort of way, the summer before college but college changed all that and I was more relieved than heartbroken.
Then I got an A on a final exam. There was a note on the top of the page with the red grade on it. He had such beautiful handwriting. He had such beautiful hands. I read the note that invited me to his office.
Mary Jo's first story was written in chalk. She's graduated to fountain pens and bottled inks and hopes the stories are in there somewhere. She lives in Ashland, VA with her husband, daughter and border collie.
Mary Jo takes classes with Valley.