I am loving me some spring this year. (Virginia has only three seasons, you know: winter, spring, and The Other One.) The sun returned, for one thing. And, even with terrible hay fever, I love the smell of spring and the way trees and flowers talk that brazen talk to the birds and bees (but especially the bees): "DO ME, BABY
You know I’m telling the truth. Trees and flowers (but especially flowers) are shameless promiscuous. But come spring time, I can’t blame ‘em.
I had a student, a young woman, who claimed that she preferred black men to white men “because they smell like cookies.” No joke: that’s what she said, and she said it to women (mostly) who knew she wasn’t talking about some new kind of cologne. It’s that pheromone thang, and in my mind, it should “smell” like the thang you like. Girlfriend like cookies? Black men smell like cookies. Me, I just like the smell of Male, period. All
men, regardless of age, race, occupation (or the lack thereof), orientation, or previous condition of servitude. I can’t designate any particular fragrance to those pheromones. Just plain, homemade goodness.
(Where really little boys are concerned, however, I content myself with rubbing their heads. I’ll chase a little boy around for that. Ask any of those who attend my church. Poor little fellas.
But the big fellas? Jesus, help me
The other day, it was about 80 degrees out, and I was walking to class when one of the students who usually walk me to class came up to me, wearing a white towel on his head.
“Is that supposed to be cooling?” I asked.
“Yeah, Ms. B. Plus, I don’t want a lot of sun.”
I looked at this milk-chocolate-brown young’un in wonder. A lot of black people are still tryin not to get “too black.” That just amazes me. So does this young’un: at least a head taller than I, wiry, full-lipped (the kind of lips that cause you*, against your will, to wonder what a kiss would feel like) and bright-eyed. He works hard –outside of school, at least, to pay for school himself (unlike many of his peers). He’s funny and possessed of a fierce, no-matter-what intelligence, a drive to Do Better. One way he thinks he can do that is by walkin Ms. B. to class or knocking on the window of the classroom and pointing at his watch as Ms. B passes, crackin her up. Every little helps, you know. And, of course, Ms. B. appreciates all the attention.
An ex-student** also hangs out with me on the regular. He comes by the office, any time, and devours the time. During the times I worried about him, used to be he’d claim he needed to see me to “feel better” during the day. Now he’s just there to entertain Ms. B. He walks me to class because, he says, he doesn’t want me walking there alone. This is Your Average Man’s Man, a twenty-something Army vet, well-versed in jiu-jitsu and charm, with a teeny-tiny, unutterably cute law school girlfriend. (He showed me the pictures he keeps in his phone.) He’s got brown hair, brown eyes, and a sexy little John Travolta cleft in his fuzzy chin. (I know
y’all thought he was a knock-kneed, thick-glasses-wearing, friendless, book-sucking dweeb --like me, in fact-- and I ain’ mad atcha, but y’all are wrong, as LuAnne Platter
would say.) Though he’s a white guy, the black guys give him a pound
as he passes. (And all the women look at his butt. Or so he tells me. I haven’t given myself permission to look, if only to determine whether it’s look-worthy, even.) Yesterday, I remembered that it was Tuesday, and so there was no reason to expect Ex-Student to come by. (In college, most folk have MWF and TR class schedules; they vary. Not everybody has the exact same, soul-squeezing schedule every johnbrown day the Lord sends.) I sighed and told myself that I’d probably get my walk the next day, shouldered my book bag and stepped out the door. There was Ex-Student, about to come in.
“I just came over to walk you to class,” he said. I grinned all over myself (and, I think, frightened him a little). I didn’t get the walk all the way to class because I was driving. But I got a walk to my car, and I treated myself to a look at the back of his legs, hanging out under his shorts, as he walked away. Nice
After lusting over every young man I saw yesterday, I thought it’d be a good idea to go to bible study that night. (The topic was having faith enough to let your God-given self-control kick in, among other things. Appropriate.) After bible study, I went downstairs to pick up the girls from their bible study. My girlfriend and her husband run our church’s Youth Department, and they each teach one Youth Department bible study class. (Truth to tell, they have loads more fun teaching those classes than they do running the department. Ain that the way?) While I stood in the hallway, I could see that their class wasn’t quite over. The teachers and students seemed to be cleaning up plaster, plastic bags and other students, the aftermath of Girlfriend’s Husband’s life-mask project. Husband looked up at me standing in the hallway, pointed to his own face and grinned big
. He had shaved every hair from his face, and he was remembering my (to him, hilariously) negative reaction to that metamorphosis last year: “I don’t like it. Grow that hair back.” Now, this is
what I said
at the time, but it wasn’t what I felt
. He has always been a beautiful man, but then, and now, he looks like a 2009 copper dollar, all shiny and wonderful and improbable. Last night, I just shook my head at him.
When the teachers finally dismissed the youth, I came down (ostensibly) to look at the youth’s masks. (Juice had been brave enough to do one.) Girlfriend gave me a big hug. After those classes, she always looks lit up inside. (And she
is always a beautiful woman, as I am sure I have said before, so it’s just not fair that she have inside lighting, too.) I felt happy that she’s found something else happy-making. Husband greeted me, and I replied, “Who are you?” as he pounced upon me for a hug. He asked me (for the thousandth time, I think) to do a life mask, too, and I replied that I didn’t even know who he was. He laughed and then preached at me: whether I knew him or not, I should love him, like a good Christian. I countered that it was entirely possible that I would come
to love him, but right now, I did not know who he was.
I turned on my heel and had begun to walk away, when he pounced and hugged me again.
I suddenly remembered the beginning of the conversation I’d had with Ex-Student, earlier that day: “Have you ever seen somebody that you just can’t take your eyes off of?” I squinted over at his pretty face in the spring sunshine and answered, “Yeah.”Dear Jesus, my brother --mmph! You sho' look good today!*
No, my maiden name is not "LeTourneau."