At the start of the the Spring semester, I noticed that usual pack of students had begun pairing up. At least a few of these kids would be called into my office and told to keep their hands and various other body parts to themselves. I’d like to think that this kind of thing would have never happened back when I was in school, but the school has its traditions, both spoken and taboo. I know for a fact that there are students currently attending that were conceived in the Prayer Towers. It’s funny if you think about it. They started out here, and now they’re back here. Ashes to Ashes and what not.
The way you can tell which ones are couples on campus is fairly simple: they’re couped together at the hip; you will almost exclusively never see one without the other. They only hang out with other couples if anyone at all; can’t function outside of a conversation with their significant other being somehow involved; and because of all the above are only thought of as a singular unit. These couples alway try to come to me for pre-marriage counseling and I always turn them away. Was I that bad as a student?
The good couples are the ones you never think about; they operate independent of one another and have their identity wrapped in something other than being a couple. These are my favorite’s, but they are few and far in between, and even harder to spot on an open campus quad. I don’t know if its a positive or a negative, but the good couples are never in my office.
Paul’s stories about the weekend camping trip kept the entertained for a solid hour. Every sentence required explanation, and then was questioned thoroughly for even more details, until he realized he was being mocked, and attempted to try and to get back to the story.
“It was the most miserable camping trip of my life!” Paul exclaimed.
“Because it rained the entire time.” Maggie had been on the same trip and sat huddled in a bundle of jackets, drinking a large cup of hot tea. Even though they had gotten back the day before, she stilled looked soaked to the core, and every now and then she would sneeze and sniffle. She handed off the now empty tea-cup to Stephen.
Stephen took the cup and refilled it with some more boiling water. “We’ll I’m glad you both made it back safely. With the roads flooding like they were I surprised you were able to drive back.”
He handed the cup back to Maggie. “Thanks. I would have swam back to campus if that’s what it would take to get out of there.”
Mary laughed a little at this. “What? You didn’t enjoy great outdoors?”
Paul let out a burst of laughter that he quickly tried to muffle with his hand.
“What’s so funny?” Mary asked.
Paul lifted his hand away enough to let a few words out. “Ask her about the fish.”
“The what!” Mary exclaimed.
Maggie wrinkled her nose and gripped the cup with both hands. “There was a fish in my tent.”
Paul started crying, he was laughing so hard.
Stephen just nodded his head and tried to keep a straight face. “A fish? Like, from the river? Was in your-“.
“Tent. Yes.” Maggie finished. Her anger was entirely fictitious. She knew it was funnier this way. “It apparently got caught up with a bunch of moving water and ended up in my tent. It swam around and kept bothering us while we were packing up during the storm.”
“How deep was the water?” Asked Mary.
“That’s not even the best part.” Paul could barely form words at this point.
Maggie continued. “We thought it had disappeared. But when we got back and started unloading, I unrolled my sleeping back and…and…and there it was!”
The table devolved into laughter. It was another minute before anyone could bring themselves back to a coherent sentence.
“Seriously, though,” Stephen said, “I’m glad you are back.”