Monday, December 8, 2008

Upstairs at Douglass

I’m correcting my students’ homework at a small table for two, my husband sitting across from me reading a book of poems. He shares the ones he knows I’ll like. He leaves me for a moment, and brings back a bag of peanuts, a diet soda, a bag of cookies, and a steaming coffee from a machine. He forgets I am easily disgusted by hot drink dispensers, and I remind him so. But I take the cookies, no problem.

We’re waiting at the college student center for our son. It’s exactly 20 years since we sat in a place exactly like this. Back then, our book-bags were laden with heavy textbooks and notebooks filled with incomplete jottings and poorly thought-out rough drafts. We wore the collegiate uniform of the late ‘80s – sweats and sneakers – and our hair was teased with mousse. We were two bright, young kids from vastly different places. We were the same in that oldest-child kind of way.

The student center was home between classes. We wrote papers there, and colored our textbooks with yellow highlighters. We ate chips and candy, diet sodas. We napped on rough, orange burlap couches, our coats serving as blankets. And we talked. We studied and learned each other, just as we did the material on our syllabuses. During those exchanges, we imagined our futures and how we would live.

On this wicked, cold day, we’re home again. The tables, clustered chairs, flyers taped to walls announcing concerts and cancelled courses, the whirring and clunk of the snack machines, the milling about of all kinds of people – all of these feel the same. This time, though, the work in our bags is different, and we’re waiting for a boy – the one we dreamed about in the student center.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story of vivid details and romance as you return home again.
Loved it,

GirlGriot said...

Hola, Cassie--
Me gusta mucho su memoria. (Did I get that right?) I love, especially, that very last bit: "we’re waiting for a boy – the one we dreamed about" ... so beautiful.

Stacey from Two Writing Teachers said...

"We're waiting for a boy - the one we dreamed about in the student center."

I love that line. It wraps up your memoir so beautifully.

BTW: Did you attend Douglass College at Rutgers? (I grew up near there.)

snowflakes said...

....I'm glad your dream came true.

What a wonderful entry. Thanks for sharing.


debrennersmith said...

Thank you for writing this. I enjoyed reading it.