I'm probably incurably sexist, but it's a component part, factory-installed. I'm male.
I say that because what happened to me yesterday can only happen when the kid sitting beside me is female. Really, I don't know that it's ever happened with a guy in my office, but what went on yesterday has happened before, but only with women.
This particular female has always been the kind of independent woman who'd come in to cuss and scream about how the entire college was nothing more than a dopey Dating Game. More than once, I've heard her swear off relationships, on a quest instead for a career. She would not be bothered by junior-high goings on, she'd say, and, what's more, children were decidely out of the question anyway. No, no, no, she said. It's not for me. She wanted go international. She wanted to see the world, maybe even change it.
Such manifestoes have been aired before in the privacy of my office, and when they were, some were almost as defiantly stated. That's what I told her. Methinks the lady doth protest too much, I said, but she swore off my doubts. "All hims, every last one?" I said. No time, no interest--nope.
Yesterday she sallied in. "I've got something to show you," she told me. Sober as a preacher, she kicked me out of my own chair, comandeered the computer, went on-line--something on Facebook, I'm sure--called up a screen-sized photo, then turned to me and nodded at what was there in front of her.
A guy. And her. The two of them. Arms conspicuously entwined.
Then, she looked at me, still cold stone sober.
Good night, another of the mighty has fallen, the rock melted away or crumbled into the sea. All that angry rhetoric so much freakin' hot air.
But there she sat, didn't say a thing, not a thing. She couldn't--she'd just marched in, pulled up that pic, looked at it and then me, tried her dangdest not to grin, and then finally lost that battle too, the fight something in her waged against the smile that rose from all those sweet vibes she'd been emitting from the moment she stepped in.
"Good night," I said to her, "the girl is in love."
In a couple years I'll blow this pop stand. Won't be long and I'll be out of the classroom--and believe me, that's just fine.
But one thing I'll miss is those few darling moments like yesterday, when kids you like, kids who said they knew better, kids who reviled their lovesick classmates for herding, like lemmings, to the altar--when those kids finally go boom, down for the count. That's is a real joy.
That I'll miss.
For her, this morning, I'm thankful. And for the sweet gift her own irrepressive joy left behind in the office just for me.