Monday, 17 September 2012

Knight in Shining Armour

Hopeful 9   Hopeless 1

The Hopeful-Hopeless count reflects how I was feeling on August 27th.  It was officially my first day back to class, resuming an as of yet unfinished Winter 2012 term.  A classroom is the last place you would expect a Knight in Shining Armour to show up, but he arrived that day, much to my astonishment!

I was rather nervous that morning because I didn't know what the classroom atmosphere was going to be like.  There had been some hard feelings about the student strike because I didn't share my classmates' view on it.  In a class of only seven students, you stand out a lot more when your opinion is different.  Tensions are all the greater in such a small group.  I had tried not to reveal my stance for as long as possible, but it eventually came out in a very public manner.  Consequently, I became the victim of harassment, insults and intimidation.  Out of six students, one was Steven whose ambiguous attitude I have already mentioned, two were my chief attackers, another two had not spoken to me at all about this issue and then there was Louis.

I mentioned Louis early in my blog without naming him.  He was the other guy I said "noticed" me.  At first, I thought he may have had a romantic interest in me.  Occasionally I still wonder a little.  During my difficulties with my classmates about the strike, he offered me unconditional acceptance, regardless of my opinions and actions.  That is pretty rare and thus extremely valuable.  I was really relieved when he told me that we were friends no matter what I thought about the strike.  He said that his friends having a different opinion from his was not a problem and that life would be exceedingly boring if his friends always thought the same way and always agreed with him.  What really made me feel good is how he said that he didn't think any less of me and that "appreciated me".  His show of support at such a critical time, for lack of better words, was very appreciated (and I told him so).

I was feeling nervous about that Monday morning class because I imagined that I would take my usual seat and that one of my severest critics would sit directly behind me, as he had those many months ago.  I had run into him at the general assembly meeting the week prior and he had been rather cold towards me.  Anticipating feeling rather uncomfortable, I decided to ask Louis if he would sit beside me.  That would provide a buffer between me and the other student.  I sent my request shortly before the technological difficulties that tied up the internal server the entire weekend.  In short, when I got to class that morning, I had no idea whether or not my e-mail had even reached him.

The layout of the new classroom was not the same as the old one.  The room was rather small, so I ended up sitting near one of my neutral classmates.  He greeted me much more warmly than I had expected.  The other person who had not talked to me about the student strike was also there, but had gone downstairs to get a coffee.  I was beginning to feel more confident about the class dynamic.  I thought perhaps it was not necessary for Louis to sit with me after all.

That is when he arrived.  He was wearing black pants and a white shirt that gave me the mental image of a white horse.  He came in smiling and said "Hi", before settling himself in between me and the other student.  He might as well have been shining!  His positive presence made me feel calmer and more secure.  I am not the kind of girl to wait around for a knight to show up on a white horse and shining armour to rescue me.  I am always independent and usually brave.  When my courage falters a little, I look for the support of friends and family.  That is exactly that Louis did for me: he showed up.  I asked him to and he showed.  That counts for a lot with me.

I felt a little dazzled during class about the white horse scenario.  He felt like a knight in shining armour, though his services had not been required that day since neither of my attackers showed to class (as for Steven, he dropped the class some time ago).  I felt like I was glowing, overflowing with affection for Louis.  He was a loving presence sitting beside me and I felt enveloped in positive energy.  It wore off towards the end of class and then I recollected myself.  I realized that it was his gesture of friendship, rather than any shining armour or white horse that I was truly pleased with.  I realized that these funny fuzzy feelings I had been getting all class were fondness.  It takes a lot for me to be fond of someone.  It is not a romantic feeling, but one of deep friendship and closeness.  I felt close to Louis during that class.  I still don't know him all that well, but I was reminded that day how warm and valuable his friendship is.

I was so glad to see him, in fact, that I was hoping we could go for lunch after class.  He had to stop by the library and it so happens I did too, so we went together.  Then we grabbed lunch.  The conversation was the best one I've had so far with Louis; we were actually talking about something!  Though, I find sometimes we don't have to say very much at all.  I was reminded that day what a laid-back person Louis is.  I thanked him for sitting next to me and explained to him a little why I had been feeling apprehensive.  His attitude, without being overly dismissive of my feelings, was that I shouldn't feel so worked about it.  These things happen, but you shouldn't harbour any hard feelings; people move on, life moves on.  Usually this sort of speech would irritate me, but as I said, he was not saying it in a way that was entirely discounting my feelings, so I was able to take some of it in.  Again, I think some of his calmness rubbed off on me.  But I think he is entirely too laid-back for my taste.  You have to care about some things.  You have to care and you have to worry and you have to plan and move.  Besides, as I said, he already has a perfect match; he is entirely devoted to his girlfriend, who I was able to get a glimpse of when Louis sat beside me and opened up his laptop, for his desktop is a picture of the two of them.  I look nothing like her, which was further reassuring that I am not his "romantic type".  When he said to me all those months ago, "Je veux qu'on soit de bons amis", it is clear he truly meant it.

After lunch, we parted ways.  He had to go see his thesis supervisor and I had to head back home to get some school work done.  I found myself smiling the entire way home.  Louis by his service reminded me that good people in the world in general exist and also that good guys exist.  He restored my faith and made my hopeful count overflow.  That, I think, is exactly what a knight really is.

Louis, you are such a sweetheart- Thank you! 

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