March 1, 2006

36: Leaving

When it came time to actually say goodbye, I left Jack and Simon on a little overgrown road outside of Oxford, in front of the place they would both be staying that night before heading off the next day. Simon kissed me warmly on the cheek and gave me a close hug, talking about how wonderful the week was, and how we would definitely have to get together when we got home, and how I must meet his fiancee. And then he made himself scarce—getting his luggage out of the cab, I think—and I turned and saw Jack leaning over to kiss me on the cheek.

His bending down to meet me was so rare for this week of falling into something like love, it startled me, in the best way. We had barely touched all week. I remember him putting his hand on my back once on Saturday, making sure I made it across the street, and our legs touching briefly by accident as we sat listening to Baroque music in the corner of candlelit Exeter College chapel. But that’s it.

So for a moment I felt lost in him, in this simple closeness. I threw my arms around him and buried my face in his neck and kissed him just there, wherever my lips happened to be, awkwardly and spontaneously. My heart was so full. My tongue was stulted as usual. I couldn’t say even half of what I’d said to Simon in genuine friendship. Jack didn’t do much better. He told me we’d get together when I got home, and as I walked away, called out something about not working too hard.

There is one particular scene in Pride and Prejudice that may be my favorite. I sometimes have to go back and watch it again, even though nothing really happens. Elizabeth is at the piano, helping Georgiana, and Darcy—Colin Firth—just gazes at her for a moment, with complete adoration. That’s it. One moment—the best possible look on his face. I never thought to be looked at that way. I mean, this is the movies after all, and a Jane Austen movie at that. How many guys just sit back and give girls adoring glances like they are wholly entranced—in a way that’s more than just wanting to get her into bed?

But when I left Jack he had the best look in his eyes--like he couldn’t smile enough, so it was coming out everywhere else. But it was more than happiness. For those few moments I was adored. It was so strong as to feel tangible, and sent me off with the confidence of something I didn’t dare put into words.


Blogger Milan said...

It's a shame you didn't meet any of the Oxford bloggers. Some are very literary.

3/05/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Thanks, Milan. Not familiar with the Oxford bloggers, but would love to know more.

3/06/2006 11:06:00 AM  

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