Emma was lying in the park between my dorm and mid-afternoon lecture and if it hadn’t been for the fact she was feeding birds with the grin of the manic and magnificent I may have continued my stride.
With her bare toes all a-wiggle, her short blonde bob, a white summer dress that ended just shy of the crevice of her knees, she was someone barely approachable and yet fate shined momentarily as she caught my glance and gave an almost imperceptible wink.
I smiled and struggled and sat and stared. She gave me a handful of seed and with that I was complicit. I took my flask from my pocket and offered but she declined with just a hint of a shake of the head.
“I have some water … and some molly if you’re so inclined.” Someone who carries a flask during sunlight hours is not in a position to look awry and so I nodded as she told me to open my mouth, popped a pill and offered me her water.
Emma was on an English Lit Scholarship and obsessed with Sylvia Plath. I introduced myself as ‘Elly Higginbottom’ as I lay, which drew a lopsided grin and a measure of respect.
Free spirits are often maligned, a draw on others energies, a beast with no respect for boundary … Emma managed to most masterfully dwell in the best of abandon and leave the worst to others less resolute. This would only become apparent years later but for now there was a definite hint of the numinous that made her orbit something of the irresistible.
“A sparrow will approach with a rare weave of the bold and the wary, give a chirp, find comfort in numbers and then commence to feast.” Emma explained. “It’s why I so adore sparrows … they encapsulate the best of all of us, their decadence is most contagious.”
“I am heartily in favor of hedonism,” I offered.
Emma turned, her eyes alight. “Life is simple when you get to the heart of the matter … simple moderation in all things, including moderation.”
With this she leaned in, turned her head just a touch and met my lips with hers.
We lay in her dorm as Springsteen stared me down while Hendrix hit me as the bridge between the feminine masculine divide.
Emma threw open the windows and offered Carole King to the world. Her bed sheets were virgin white, her pillow cases blood red, her sudden stroke of my hair as she lay drew a smile from deep within.
“I do so love blonde hair on boys,” she said.
“I envy the dark and the daring.”
She laughed. “I’ve always wanted to dye my hair falcon black, but I’m nervous I’ll fail to recognize myself come morning … though that could abet quite the revelation.”
There were lines written and half written everywhere. On serviettes, the back of envelopes, note pad, any blank space within arms’ distance had served as inspiration if only for a moment. She would not let me peruse however … they were ‘simple instinct hither and thither, something perhaps … time will tell’.
Touch was most affecting and so we lay and held and stroked and smiled and our eyes met, our souls felt the wind of the wings of rapture as chemicals played their part and this was the beginning of something, of that and only that I could be sure.
“And so it is,” I whispered.
“And so it is,” She whispered in return.