To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

First Interlude, Second Year

Hi, it's Daniel-of-2014 again.

I don't have much in the way of corrections to make this time, but I've been thinking about love.

Celebrating Valentine's Day this year made me think about Valentines Day on campus, only we almost entirely ignored the day there, so it wasn't anything I could post about. I suppose couples gave each other chocolates or something, but I never had a girlfriend over Valentine's Day, so I never got into it.

And yet, I did have girlfriends on campus now and then, so I got to thinking about them, too.

I didn't have very many--three, I think, over four years--and none of those relationships were serious and all three ended because of my terminal awkwardness with women so there was no possible way I would have written about them at the time because I was so damn awkward about it. Yet they did happen, and the first was during my second year, that summer.

My basic problem was that I didn't know what romantic love was. I thought a romantic relationship basically meant you got to have sex, or, might eventually, anyway. And I'd never had sex, but I really wanted to, and my wanting and my nervousness combined to make sex seem like an achievement of impossibly mythic proportions. Then, too, everyone on campus talked about sex--in the abstract--in very candid terms, so I got the sense that everybody but me was super-experienced and the women I met there would expect me to be some sort of God of Technique.

So, between one thing and another, I was kind of a zero as a boyfriend and not much romance happened.

This past Valentine's Day, my wife had to go up to the campus of our graduate school for a conference they were hosting there, so we asked my parents to babysit and I went with her and poked around town a bit. Afterwards, we went snowshoeing in the park. We stopped by the river for a while and sat in the snow and drank chocolate from a thermos and I gave her a piece of costume jewelry I'd found in town. And she kissed me.

I don't know why my wife loves me. In my head, I'm still that terminally awkward boy. When she kisses me, whenever she kisses me, I feel very lucky. We had a wonderful little Valentine's Day this year. But that's not the main thing I wanted to talk about.

I'd written, around Brigid about how our daughter, Carly, is talking, how she loves to look out at the snow, which she calls "noh," and how one of her first words was "Ma," but that she had no word for me. For two or three months she was saying all kinds of things, but no "Da," or "Daddy," no name for me.

But then, just after Valentine's Day, my daughter walked, in her wobbly way, to our glass back door and reached up to the handle and the light switch. She does this at night when she wants one of us to turn on the porch light so she can see if it's snowing. And I walked up to help her and she turned to me.

"Noh, Da! Noh!" she said.

And I have no words for that. Just none at all.

[Next Post: Friday, March 21st: Brigid]

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