You’ll never guess what time it is… so how about I just tell you. It’s 3:47 AM. Utterly ridiculous, isn’t it? The cat woke me up to eat (why she wants breakfast at this hour is beyond me), and so I got up to feed her, and the writing dry spell I’ve had broke. As the words came pouring down, I fought to go back to sleep. And fought. And fought. I’d been typing in my dreams, and I was typing as I awoke. Dagnabit, at least this time I grabbed my glasses.
College was not an easy time for me. I fluctuated from anxiety so great that I couldn’t leave the bed, to random bouts of suicidality due to overstimulation and oversocialization, to the meltiest meltdowns you ever did see. I slept poorly, ate worse, and my room was always a mess. I’d spend hours, literally hours, at the gym with a book for class because I just couldn’t stop moving. Despite all this, I maintained just about a 4.00… and this, at a school known for its highly rigorous academics.
But, looking back, there was a highlight in the darkness. As a sophomore, I believe, I took Spanish 101. I joked that I only knew one word in Spanish, “Hola!” but it pretty close to being true (I could also, roughly, count to ten). Any language 101 course is pretty much a breeze. My professor made it so much fun, so interesting, and I fell in love.
I took Spanish 102 the next semester, skipped 201, and took 202 that summer. I took 295 “transitional” in the fall, and I was into the 300s by the end of Junior year, reading and analyzing Spanish folklore from around the world. People with many times my Spanish background, people who had spent a year abroad speaking the language, struggled in that class. The professor was the most interesting woman possibly I’ve ever met, and in a good way. She wasn’t married and lived with her cat. She let on to no personal details about her life. At a Christian college, no one even knew if she was a Christian. Her tests were really, really hard. Her grading system was totally her own and involved, I think, a bit of subjectivity, but somehow it was still fair.
I absolutely flourished her in classes and my grades showed it. But more than the grades (which is an alien concept to a student where I went to college- that there is more than grades!), I had a good relationship with a professor (in fact, with every professor in the department, which was very odd for me). I had a subject that I loved and could throw myself into heart and soul, in typical autistic fashion.
The funny thing about Spanish and I is that I made no effort to keep up with it after graduation. In fact, I’m back to knowing about ten words. But I can understand the guys at the Mexican restaurant, and I can read it quite well. I just don’t have the expressive abilities I had (which was many thousands of words, jokes, idioms, etc). I think, in a way, that Spanish served its purpose while I was in college, and that was that. I don’t need it anymore. But if I ever I do, I have all my books and things.
The other night at church, we had a visiting pastor from Mexico. He sang a song called, “La Nina de tus Ojos,” or the apple of your eye. I’d heard it once or twice before, and you know what was strange? Even without the words up on the board, I knew the chorus with no problems. And I knew what it meant.
So, maybe my Spanish is hiding in my brain somewhere, just waiting for a reason to need it… and by this, I mean should the darkness return, and I don’t think it will, I’ll know just what to do.