Tweeting Away

College Chronicles: Lit Classes

http://www.jamesburg.org/gmb/images/classroom.jpg
I’m going to miss my friends leaving thank you notes on post-its after they’ve hung out at my dorm.

Anyway, so this is entry 2 of my College Chronicles. I’ve already previously written about how I love and miss having Lit classes. I’ve had very good memories about them, you see. For instance, the first paper I ever submitted, in Lit 101 - Ancient Lit, was graded a 1.0. I was beside myself when I found out. To be honest, it’s the only subject I really get, almost as if it’s in my genes or something.

But the thing is, Lit classes for me were never about the grade. Other than being happy because it gave me a chance to land a spot on the Dean’s List, I was really happy about the 1.0 mainly because I was flattered that someone had read it and appreciated it enough to give it full marks. I believe that my performance in all of my Lit classes is evidence to the adage that says if you are doing what you love, you will most likely do it very well.

Someday I’d love to teach a Literature class. To have the opportunity to read and discuss Garcia Marquez and Shakespeare and Hemingway everyday to a youthful audience, eager to learn and brimming with fresh ideas…heck, I’d do it for free.

Until then, here’s a paper I wrote for Modern Lit, junior year. Our professor asked us to write a composition based on any of the poems and short stories we had discussed in class. I chose to write about Yvor Winters' “At the San Francisco Airport”. The poem is about a parent who accompanies his child to the airport to see her off. In the poem he expresses his feelings about his child leaving. I thought it would be nice to write about the viewpoint of the daughter about the same event, so the composition is a letter of sorts, from the daughter to the father. It also has references to a certain cult novel-turned-movie, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out what book/movie it is.

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The sky is a hazy shade of red, and the sun slowly sets as I embark on this journey I chose to take. The stewardess hands me a cup of coffee – I remember how you always said I shouldn’t drink coffee, because it’ll hamper my growth. You also said I wouldn’t like it. When through my persistence you let me have a sip when I was six, I realized how you were right – I hated coffee then. Now I drink coffee practically everyday, and everyday I remember you and what you used to say.

The stewardess hands me a pack of single-serving sugar and single-serving cream. It’s just like in that movie – apparently everything in the “real world” is single serving, and hardly anything lasts. Now, among the clouds, I am amidst strangers. The middle-aged woman beside me has a tired, dazed look on her face. I think she’s afraid of flying – the sounds of the engine and the slight bump at take off made her gasp loudly, as if she was taking a plunge into icy water. Ironic, isn’t it, how flying can feel like sinking sometimes? I try not to disturb the woman so I turn my attention to the person on my other side. He is much younger than the woman, but older than I am. He has a business magazine open on his lap. He looks at me, smiles, and asks me where I’m headed. “I’m off to college,” I answer. “You?” The man says he’s on a business trip. For a while we engage in conversation, with him mostly talking about his college life and how he misses it and me absentmindedly nodding and smiling. Perhaps in a plane trip, where everything is single-serving, strangers can become at least single-service friends as well – you have your time together after take-off, and before the plane lands both of you know that you’ll never see each other again, and even if you did you wouldn’t remember each other. I got that from that movie again, the one you didn’t want me to see, remember? You thought it was too violent, too serious, too grown-up for a little girl. But I insisted on watching it, and unlike the coffee, after I did, I really liked it. Now it’s like I can relate to that movie and it feels a bit weird that way – it’s like that saying, of how life imitates art, or is it the other way around? I never could remember.

I’m a bit frightened. I didn’t tell you this before the flight, while we stood looking at the planes at the airport, because I was worried you would stop me from leaving if I told you. The truth is I’m a bit scared of what’s out there, and of having to venture into it on my own. I put on a brave, excited face and it’s not that I’m projecting a lie – I feel like I have enough courage to do this, to take this journey, and I am excited, but I can’t deny my fears. Mostly I’m scared that maybe nothing in the real world is real, that nothing there is sincere, that like in my plane trip, nothing in the real world is true enough to last longer than a single-service something.

But you, I know I can rely on. I feel your love everyday and it gives me courage – courage, say, to venture on my own into a journey I must take. Know this: that I didn’t leave home to get away from you. If anything, perhaps I’m leaving to be on my own so that one day, I could come home and feel the great happiness of being with my family again. You know how they say distance can make the heart grow either fonder or colder? I have faith that my leaving will only make me fonder of my family.

One day, it will be my turn on the other side of the fence, and I will be the one saying goodbye to a daughter. Perhaps only then will I truly understand how you felt when you let me go on my own. That’s just the way it is, see – eventually everything comes full circle, so that a person is once a daughter, excited and anxious to be on her own, and suddenly she’s the parent, anxious and frightened about letting go of her daughter. After all, weren’t you once in my place too?

The captain announces that we’re about to land. I smile and nod for the last time at the final words of my single-service friend. The stewardess takes the coffee cup and the empty single-serving packs of cream and sugar. The woman beside me prepares to take a plunge again, as I myself get ready, but not to sink, and instead to fly. Ironic, isn’t it, how a plane’s landing can signal the beginning of a person’s true flight? When I do realize the truth behind my fears, that most of what’s out there in the real world are single-service somethings, I’ll be back sooner than you think. And even when the real world turns out to be this great, amazing place, my reality is with you, and it’s you that I will always come back to, because I know our lives will remain intertwined forever.

1 comment:

otherboy said...

i could totally relate =( i'm a lit major myself in college. i miss the word-drunkeness inside lit classes. 'blogrolled you btw.