Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Christine

When I think of you, I think of something bright and cheerful, like a postcard. For your colors are still vivid in my memory -- ivory complexion, blond hair, scarlet lips. You looked so striking that everyone and everything else more or less faded into the background.

Ironically, it was an ardent suitor who brought you close to me. For he became so obsessed by you, following you around with that besotted puppy look in his eyes, so you got scared and came to me for advice. I still remember the night you knocked on the door of my dorm room, as badly frightened as a child woken up from a nightmare. I led you to my chair and comforted you in my very correct gentlemanly manner, but at the back of my mind I was idly wondering why girls kept coming to me for advice and comfort but not so often for love.

I found your sweet disposition pleasant, I was also astonished by your complete lack of worldly wisdom. I listened to your many reflections and ponderings and sometimes was even more confused than you were, but we got along all right.

You asked me to go to church with you one Sunday morning. It was the first time I ever set foot to that respectable-looking United Methodist edifice downtown. The congregation inside was dressed up to the nines, and I was feeling a bit embarrassed in my threadbare jacket when you told me you were proud to be seen there with me. Needless to say that my affection for you went up a few notches.

In the meantime you had considerably softened towards the suitor who had once scared you into knocking on my door. You were moved by his persistence and started to accept his gifts. You excitedly told me about your visit to his home and the warm reception his mother had given you. You so anxiously sought my approval that grudgingly I gave it to you.

You left the campus to spend six months in Spain to get your exposure to its culture and language which you studied. Once in a while you shot me an email describing your amazement at the totally different lifestyle you were witnessing in some small village outside Toledo. Once in a while I felt like I might be missing you.

You came back in spring, and while I was taking your pictures with dogwood flowers blossoming above you and colorful tulips blooming at your feet, I thought you were exactly where you belonged, right in the midst of nature's spring beauty. I started toying with the idea of courting you myself, but I was afraid that you would have been so confused with two concurrent suitors that you would have sought out a third person for advice and turned the whole situation into a convoluted farce.

I graduated when summer showed up that year. Armed with my degree, my youthful earnestness and a job offer, I moved to Washington to start a new, fast and zestful life. As time went by, our exchange of messages was reduced to a trickle then ceased completely. I had no idea about your life after college.

It's been ten years now, yet I am sure you are just as sweet as you used to be. Thanks for a memory that always brings a tender smile to my eyes.

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