David met me for lunch after class yesterday and took my "first day of school" picture.
Just before dark last night Savannah and I went to the store to buy a chicken for dinner.
Our world was uncharacteristically wet and dripping and Savannah said that it looked like London with all the car and street lights reflected in the puddles.
About six o'clock I put that chicken in a pie and put it in the oven, and my own Elizabeth Bennett walked in the door after a long stroll in the rain, her hem six inches deep in mud, her cheeks flushed, and her face alight.
I cleaned up the dinner prep and laid down for a minute as the pie baked, and thought about my day.
It was the first day of school for me in a very long time.
I sat in a small, undecorated classroom, with seventeen other students. The boy on my left had a mouth so full of retainers he could hardly talk. When he tried to he gently sprayed our table with spit which, rather than disgusting me, charmed me completely and made me want to bring him some of the pie I had just made in case he was living on ramen and popcorn. The boy on my right had both ears so full of piercings he could hardly hear. I wondered if he took them out every night and if his head felt ten pounds lighter when he did, and if he lined them all up on the dresser for the next day's battle, or if he wore his armor to bed.
There was a girl in the front row of the class who raised her hand high when the professor asked who in the room was writing a novel. A few others raised their hands half-way, like they were ashamed to admit it. I kept my hand down but it kind of jumped a bit in my lap like it had been startled, but I tamped it down tight and held onto my pride and my fear at the same time.
The professor explained that our class will be a workshop class and that means I will not only read the work of the boy in retainers next to me, but I will tell him what I think of it. And he will do the same for me. I hope he thinks my writing is as charming as I think his spit is.
So last night with dinner in the oven, my husband on his way, half of my children nursing colds and the other half nursing healthy love affairs with rarely-seen rain, I lay on my bed and thought about the other people in my class: the boy in the tweed jacket who thinks he can smell academic snobbery even when it isn't there; the girl with wheat colored hair who went up afterwards and asked quietly, with her eyes on the floor what a workshop is; and the rail-thin girl who sat behind me and took notes fast and furiously while the professor read fiction to us. Everyone around her kept glancing over at her nervously wondering if they should be taking notes too.
And how in not too many weeks, all of these people will see me naked.
And how while I love being naked as much as the next person, (okay maybe more than the next person), I'm not sure I can strip to my heart and soul in front of these eighteen people.
It is not Creative Writing 170.
It is Exhibitionism 101.
And then I could only think that it is a very good thing I look so great naked.