I usually think of myself as being kind of geeky when I was a girl.
That term did not exist when I went to high school (also known as the Jurassic Period), but I was a student who loved to study and was good at it.
Geeks are also supposed to be bad at fashion and social situations, so I guess I don’t fully fit the description. I can blame my early fashion disasters on being poor and having a mother who considered Dolly Parton a fashion icon.
Whatever social awkwardness I possessed, I grew out of it once I started dressing like a normal person.
But loving to study meant that I read anything I could and loved talking about it with my friends. We discussed literature and art and science. We talked about political issues, although we were too young to vote.
We even managed to discuss religion in a way that didn’t make anyone defensive about which pew they sat in on Sunday morning.
I was reminded of this last week after a conversation with my son. As I was relaxing with a little TV, I got a message from him on my phone. It was a link to a website.
“Hey mom, can you help me with this poem? I really like it, but I don’t get the end.”
Suddenly, I was on the spot. Being a writer doesn’t mean I can interpret poetry at the drop of a hat. Could I rise up and discuss this piece of literature like I used to?
I read the poem and agreed, the last line confused me, too. After three or four more reads, I put my mystery-writing tools to work and investigated. It seemed the poet was an unfulfilled, depressed woman who wrote poems about unfulfilled and unrequited love.
This was one of those poems. And yet…
As Marcus and I discussed it further, we looked at the words she used and what else they could mean. The lover’s eyes were brown, unlike the eyes of her previous lovers. Could the color refer to the earth, to a road, to the grave?
The tone was certainly somber enough to lead us toward the abyss.
We continued to dissect the phrases and the language. It felt like…