A quote from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (yes, you would think that was my Bible, wouldn’t you?) is one that made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it on television and sigh knowingly when I came to read the book. It is spoken by the protagonist’s cousin, Jasper, as he tries to give Charles Ryder a piece of his knowledge about how to behave whilst at university. Charles, naturally, ignores this (otherwise we would not have a story), and I in my own way, did the very same thing.
The line which now makes me look back and laugh, groan, and shake my head is this:
“…You’ll find you spend half your second year shaking off the undesirable friends you made in your first.”
There you have it.
The naiveté with which one approaches First Year university, is nearly palpable. For my part, having spent 3 years of high school in a Catholic all-girls’ school, I was ill-equipped for the lotharios and losers who had managed to get themselves a place under the pretense of obtaining a degree.
Of course, like the literary heroines I was about to study, I would fall prey to my share. In First Year, I was a real-life Clarissa to a few Robert Lovelaces. Being the romantic and a poet, I composed this simple little heartfelt piece for one of my First Year “loves”.
Not In Love
Just because you stand so tall
And strength defines your form
Just because your hair is blond
And your blue eyes are so warm
Just because the Rolling Stones
Are all I want to hear
Just because I lose control
Whenever you are near
Just because I melt inside
When you look down at me
Just because your skin’s so smooth
In the hollow of your cheek
Just because I know you want me
Yet, you seem so shy
It isn’t love, is it?
And if it isn’t, why?
© Kathleen Mortensen nee Davison – 1980 (Fall)