Backhand Stories: The Creative Writing Blog

She loved to watch him.

She loved to get lost in the very few, but deep, aging lines in his forehead, imagining the struggles he has had in his life, and recognizing how beautifully they had shaped a boy into this man that stood before her.

She loved hearing his voice like an American audience hearing a French opera; not speaking the language but holding hopes for the day when they might understand the meaning of those so elegantly grouped together words in a tone that confirms mastery of the language. A tone that humors you as you try to keep up. His lips would quiver in a very secretive manner when he made a joke and no one could process it fast enough to share his childish giggle.

She loved his language, the language of wisdom. Not wisdom like you imagine an all-knowing owl watching life and taking notes; wisdom like a prisoner of war or like a king that has lost his empire.

When she got lost in her head, walking through all of the possible encounters with him she had yet the invitation to enjoy, he would often catch her off guard with a question she had no answer to. What could she possibly have in her feeble conformed mind that would be of any entertainment to him? That’s what she feared, she knew none of her daydreaming would get her any closer to being able to have a conversation with him, she knew that he was far too busy living his life to spare the time to impact her in a more personal, direct way.

She did not wish to be the wife he came home to, that she imagined would nag at him for problems so miniscule, nor did she wish to be his mistress that she imagined he had in hopes to make him feel young again. Although he was great, he was not always morally correct, which made him perfect to her. She simply wanted to talk with him, get to know him, let him know, and like, her.

He was beautifully broken, yet so held together.

He was ugly in the most attractive way. Physically he was not much to look at, his body held his head about six feet and 2 inches off of the ground; in the middle there was a slight beer belly that suggested he didn’t do much on weekends, his bottom half was most always hugged by jeans, and his torso with a simple T-shirt. His face was normal, nothing misproportioned, topped with thinning pepper-like hair. His eyes were the most infatuating, the windows to his mind, and much like his mind, they were confident. They sort of had a piercing effect, but not like a knife, more like a light, a good dim light that once inside you shines so brightly its hard not to feel the warmth. Every word that came so ghost-like out of his mouth was treated like the word of God by her. And that’s precisely what he was to her, a God of sorts, an answer to her questioning the importance of knowledge. He was her very own faith, taking shape. And it was the shape of a fifty-three year old man standing at the front of a half-filled classroom pouring his genius in to tiny heads. We were like rags already soaked in sticky fluid, trying to soak up the rest of the spill. Yet we tried, and tried, week after week, to wring out all of the old knowledge so that we would have room for his much more significant teachings. And that’s where she is left every Tuesday afternoon, a ratty cloth soaking in his brains excrement on the pale grey linoleum tiles of the college campus floor.