For our final class, my nonfiction professor invited all his over for for a potluck, a book swap, and the (required) opportunity to deposit with him six essay-filled envelopes that he would, the following day, ceremoniously send to literary magazines on our behalf.
Also in attendance (and, presumably, relieved of the above-mentioned duties) were his wife and two young sons: aged eight and ten.
While the rest of us ate dinner–taquitos, calabicitas, salad and pita pizza–I glimpsed the eight-year old, straddling the back of the living room couch with a pile of three Garfield books in his lap. The expression of pure, unadultered, consuming joy I saw–not just in his face but in his whole, lanky little-boy body–awed me. I made eye contact with my professor and gestured with my chin.
“I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen anyone that genuinely, completely happy,” I said. My professor nodded.
“That one’s kind of an old soul, “ he said.
That moment has been on my mind for the past twenty-four hours, as I’ve walked around Washington DC with an expression not very dissimilar from that ecstatic boy’s.
Last night, snuggling fireside with my friend L on our friend A’s couch, my insides humming with childlike warmth and orange rye punch, I had a doubting moment—the first, it would seem, of several.
“Is it wrong that this feels worth flying across the country for?” I asked, weaving my fingers in and out of his, interrupting a conversation about our latest reading material.