They Sit Together in Film Studies

They sit together in film studies.

She sits on his side of the room, a row above him.

He chases her down after class.

They walk on the leaf-blown path.

She walks ahead, and knows he is chasing her.

He has longer legs, but feels like he’s running.

They sit on a step as he gives her a light he bought for her that afternoon.

He looked for a present for hours.

Ten years later, she’ll still have the lighter, and he’ll remember giving it to her, but not what it looks like.

She stays the night, goes to an early class, and then comes back.

He finds her, perched nervously with a cigarette in her claw.

She is naturally graceful, but is shaking with anxiety.

She has long red hair, curly.

He is still in his smoking robe, with a long nightshirt underneath.

He doesn’t smoke.

The nightshirt is red and black checks.

The robe is gold with black trim, and large black paisleys.

It is torn at the sleeve.

She says something about coming back; she’s embarrassed by it.

He doesn’t mind.

She moves in.

They go to the fine foods shop together.

It’s a college town—for her women’s college—and the cashier asks if he’s hers.

She nods he is.

They share dreams and big plans, and feast on recipes of their own making.

They broil lamb chops and glut themselves and lie flat, immobilized, until they roll over onto each other and make love.

They love each other, but he has some dumb ideas about love, and she has some baggage.

They hurt each other terribly, but never fall out of love, and learn to love better.

They both marry.

She divorces, remarries, and redivorces.

He marries and has children.

They talk once in fifteen years, on the eve of her second marriage.

He had almost visited.

Why marry again so fast?

This time, she said, the man was the “right one.”

In the days just before this conversation, he had met his future wife, who hailed from the same state as his college love.