This was my beginning. She was my beginning. Her name was Anirosa, and she was my whole world. When I met her, we shared a class our sophomore year of college. I went out on a limb that semester, which I don’t often do, and I took a philosophy class. My father always reminded me that trying things that were outside of our comfort zones helped to shape us into our fullest being. He said that if I glued myself to one thing I would become my studies, and they would no longer become me. I can not admit the truth of his philosophy, but I will never deny the truth that this class would become one of the most beneficial of my entire education.
Anirosa spoke of ideals that at first made me scoff, and filled my mouth with the tangy flavor of bitter disdain. I could hardly suffer the musings of a Utopian. Of course the professor, after some deliberation, paired us and assigned us tasks. We, our pairs, were to share our philosophies with each other for a whole week, then write of our commonalities, disagreements, and how or if we learned from one another.
Being who I was, I balked at this.
You see, I was a numbers man. I was going through college to become a CPA, and I made excellent marks as well as worked a part time job at a financial firm. I read statistics like the most enthralling of suspense novels, I memorized and recited formulas like sonnets. I didn’t do the whole, ‘why are we here?’ thing. I just counted, and I did it very well. To me philosophy said ‘What if, what if, perhaps….’ and those things honestly did not fit in my mind. I processed averages, means, and when asked ‘what if?’ I responded with numbers that described odds. Anything else didn’t matter. I suppose I just can’t bring my one-track logical mind to the crevices between rational thought. Anirosa could. She spouted theories that were sometimes so inane, so completely laughable that one might believe her mad. But she said them proudly, and with every shred of innocent belief that they were never impossible. I would share something of what she used to say, but I fear I would not do it justice. I will assure you, her mode of thinking inflicted a magnificent amount of vexation on my poor mathematical psyche.
That was not all she inflicted upon me. Her eyes were this disconcertingly lovely and unusual shade of green. They were dark and deep like a forest, overgrown with moss; flecked with the gold of bare, trickling sunshine. Her face was angular, sharp and bold with high cheekbones and daring lips that bravely curled up in an almost permanent grin. Her nose was prominent, small and pointed, causing the uplift of her chin to bring her face to the state of a merlin of sorts. A falcon, whose wings, those relentless dreams, take her above and beyond all others… and her hair. Her hair was long, wavy, and the dark, gleaming color of fresh honey. Most days she wore it in a loose braid. She was thin, but not dramatically so. I don’t know if she was of an average height, since I am relatively tall. She tended toward such unflatteringly loose fitting garments that her figure, to my dismay, eluded me.
I can still remember the first thing she said to me. Her voice, though high, was full and thick, as if she spoke from the depths of her torso.
“You are…” she smiled, timidly. “You are my partner?” She fussed with a strand of her hair that fell across her face, using it as an excuse to turn away and hide her blush. I looked over my number, then held it up for her to see. She smiled, and it was as though suddenly the air lit up. She held up her own number twenty seven and laughed. It was a good laugh, not one of those little bell laughs that women seem so inclined to proffer. Anirosa’s laugh was genuine, and endearing.
“So…” I said, not hiding my own flushed face. I wanted her to see. “how do we begin?” I was seriously hoping that my chagrin for the project did not make itself known to her. She did not seem put off, so I stood. I flapped my number awkwardly to disguise my unease. She had an odd, omniscient gleam in her green eyes that struck me like a taut guitar string. I quivered.
“I’m not sure,” she said, the smile she often felt inclined to blind me with flashed. After I recovered and closed my mouth, I decided that she probably thought I was an idiot. I averted my eyes and started throwing books into my bag. A whole week of this, I remembered. I was toast.
Anirosa sat on the stairs beside me as the professor graciously dismissed us early, commanding that we all have an excellent afternoon. I could smell her. Despite her frumpy way of dressing, I feared I was not going to be able to keep my mouth properly closed.
“Would you like to go for coffee?” I blurted out, finally. Rifling through her purse, she produced a small silver item. I carefully looked closer. It looked like a ring, but it was large; much too large for her hands.
“Your name is Meran, am I correct?” She asked the question as she dropped the ring back into her purse. I nodded when she looked at me. “Can I borrow your pen, Meran?” I handed her my pen. Her fingers touched my palm. Strum. I was sweating, I could feel it. She turned over her paper number and wrote on the back of it. After a moment she folded it once, then produced a small stapler and snapped one onto it. Looking up at me, her expression was one of mischief. “That’s my number,” she said, pushing it into my hand, attached to my pen. I realized I was staring, my mouth cocked oddly open. I may have even drooled. “I’m busy until this weekend.” She indicated the number. “don’t open that until Friday night.” She stood. It was an odd movement, as it didn’t appear as if she had moved at all. “It’s imperative that you let it wait, because if you open it too soon there could be dire consequences. You have been warned, Meran.” She turned and started to walk toward the door. “Our fate rests in your hands.” she finished, without turning around.
“So… are you going to open it, or just stare at it? You said Friday!” My little sister, whose cluttered sixteen year old mind struggled so valiantly to wrap itself around the idea of a woman being interested in me, sat fidgeting at the end of my bed. I glared up at her, finding her enthusiasm exhausting. “Christa, would you get out of here?” I kicked at her, but she rooted herself in.
“I’m just curious, Meran. Your life is more interesting than my high school drama!” she protested my demand, while giggling. Grudgingly, I pushed my thumb behind the staple, and pulled. It popped and I imagined a seal being broken. I braced myself for some ridiculous reason. Chris bounced impatiently as I read. Her writing was very characteristic; very her.
“Meran of the Philosophy Class,” it read “as I told you, this is my number.” I looked for a phone number and did not find one. As I realized what she meant, I turned over the paper to read the bold ‘twenty seven’ on the front. I laughed. Chris groaned. I continued to read, ignoring my imposing sibling.
“I think to start our project we should meet at King’s Park in the pavilion on Saturday at eleven in the morning. Wear shorts, and bring your favorite book.” I stared for a moment at her request. I started as it dawned on me that there was no request. It was a demand. “signed, Anirosa” it finished. At the bottom, in very small writing, was a post script. “by the way, your shoe is untied.” I started as I looked at my feet. I laughed at the fact that I expected my shoe to be untied. I was bare foot.
“Let me read it!” Chris interjected on my thoughts. I handed her the note and enjoyed her laughter. “Meran, she sounds so silly.” after she finished she said “I do hope that you will date her.” My sister, as a young woman would, made sure I picked out the ideal shorts, and advised me not to wear long socks with my shoes. In fact, she gave me some of her socks that were supposed to hide in shoes. I wasn’t too worried about it, but Chris wanted to be involved. I didn’t have a good reason to keep her from being as such. I picked out my favorite book, bade my little sister good night, and went to sleep. That night, my dreams gazed upon me with knowing, playful eyes.
Monica Doke ‘10
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