Hopeful 9 Hopeless 1
I wanted to write this post in remembrance of a beautiful afternoon spent with Giles one year ago today. It was a Thursday in which something incredible and extraordinary took place, taking me completely by surprise. I had mentioned this "magical moment" briefly in another post and promised I would tell this story. I cannot think of a better time than today to relate it.
It was the end of a long day. I'd had a morning class, then an afternoon exam. Giles finished at the same time as I did and we walked out of the classroom together. We talked a bit about the exam as we took the elevator down from the 8th floor. We each opened our own door, side by side, to exit the building. At that point, I wondered whether he would be taking the metro that day. He continued walking with me, so I asked and he said, "I'm coming with you." I was in luck.
It was raining when we left the University. I remembered that rain had been in the forecast. I was not bothered in the slightest because I had a rain jacket and my hair could hardly look more décoiffé at the end of a long day in any case. Giles, however, did not have a raincoat, so he needed an alternative; he quickly deployed a black umbrella.
As we walked back, we began talking about our common passion for languages. The conversation was very pleasant, comfortable and natural. It is not everyday that I find someone with whom I can have an intellectual conversation or with whom I can get along so well. We were both sharing on a pretty equal level, though Giles has been studying longer than I have. He is always so good at validating people, making them feel like they have something important and smart to say. That is one of the things I love about him.
Halfway to the metro, we were chatting away, waiting for the traffic light to change. I hardly felt the rain anymore, but since we were standing still, I could clearly see that it was still coming down. That is when I thought to look at the umbrella. I lifted my gaze very discretely to ascertain the position of the umbrella. That is when I realized that the umbrella was also covering me. We were both under it.
I was so stunned, I hardly knew what to think. A thousand and one emotions were running through me. I felt like screaming, "OH MY GOD! For the first time in my entire life, a guy is sharing his umbrella with me!!!" I don't know how, but I managed to keep myself under control, maintain a normal tone of voice and stay calm and focused enough to follow the conversation.
When we got to the metro, Giles opened and held the door for me. He had clearly not finished amazing me yet. It is a small gentlemanly kindness that you don't see so much anymore because society or women say that we can open our own doors in life (which I generally subscribe to myself) or because men just aren't the way they used to be. As a general rule, this sort of thing is not impressive to me, but every once in awhile, holding the door for me will really touch me. It was like that on this day. On the escalator down, I began to feel calmer. This is Giles' amazing power; he not only has the great ability to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable as soon as they are near him, but also to make them feel good about themselves. The positive energy he exudes is incredible and impossible not to be affected by.
Giles began to head towards the stairs to the platform to catch the metro. I stopped at the top and he did the same. We spoke for a few moments until he remembered that I took the metro in the opposite direction. We decided not to block the stairs and moved to one side. He was still talking and didn't seem ready to stop. He was standing a little bit closer to me than usual, as he had while we were walking, presumably to keep me under the umbrella. I felt him hesitating. It seemed he did not want to go. I did not want him to go either. As I wondered whether I was imagining things, he became quiet.
At length, he said, "I think that's my metro." Then he said bye and that he would see me next week. "In two weeks," I corrected him. "It's reading week." He acknowledged that I was right. My heart had lodged itself in my throat and I felt it choking me. I couldn't speak because I couldn't imagine not seeing him for two weeks. I said goodbye and walked across to the opposite platform.
The entire way home, I thought about what had just transpired. I felt convinced that as soon as I set foot out of the University, I had walked straight out of my own life and directly into a scene from a movie. It was so much more like a film than my own life; these things never happened to me! Whenever did a guy share his umbrella with me? Impossible! Yet, it was true. It was such a surreal feeling. It was one of those moments when time slowed and I was fully in the moment, able to appreciate all the wonderful things in life. If it had been a movie, this scene would surely have ended in a kiss; by that time, however, it was reverting back to my life, where such things simply do not happen.
It was then that I understood that Giles had given me something wonderful. I knew that no matter what happened in my life afterwards, it would never be the same. My life would be better and I would be better for that experience and that no one could ever take it away from me, that beautiful afternoon in the rain. Words can hardly describe how wonderful Giles made me feel. For the first time, in a long time, I felt Hopeful. I felt hopeful about romantic possibilities, about life, about everything. My hopeful-hopeless count today reflects how I felt a year ago today.
That is the wonderful gift that you gave me, Giles & I thank you from the bottom of my heart!