Thursday, May 1, 1941
I met the most amazing man today. It was a beautiful day outside – perfect actually – and I wanted to be out in it so much, but I was stuck in the library, frantically trying to do research for my French literature paper that is hanging over my head like a lead weight. Graduation is only two weeks away and I simply must get it finished. So, there I was, poring over my books, when he came in.
I don’t know what made me look up at that moment, but when I did, he was looking at me with his sapphire blue eyes. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen eyes so blue. He smiled and I returned the pleasantry before wavering under his gaze. I pretended to be engrossed in my book. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I couldn’t make out a word on the page. All I could feel were his eyes taking me in.
He sat down across the table from me. I glanced up. He was still looking at me! Nobody has ever looked at me like that. I started to shake with nerves. I prayed he wouldn’t notice, and tried to push my hair back into place. When I did so, he reached across the table and gently pushed it back for me, letting his fingers caress my face as he did so. How brazen! I felt the color rush to my cheeks, and yet, I made no move to stop him. Even now, his touch still lingers there.
“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met.” These were the first words he said to me. I have no doubt he’s said the same thing to a thousand women, and yet, in that moment, I almost believed him. He remarked that it was far too pleasant a day to be inside and invited me to go for a walk. I confess, my efforts to explore the symbolism of Baudelaire’s poetry were quickly tossed aside.
We walked around the campus and the neighborhood. He’s from Ohio, but just finished up his Ph.D. in history at St. Thomas University and was hired to teach Western Civilization here at Our Lady of Lourdes next year. He had come into the library to check out the history books in the collection. I don’t believe he quite achieved his objective.
We walked and talked for two hours about everything. I told him things I’ve never shared with anyone except in the pages of this journal. I never believed in love at first sight – especially not for me. I never even thought I’d get married, and yet, here I am, after one afternoon, dreaming of it. It’s all so silly. I sound like a love-sick school girl instead of a woman about to graduate from college.
It wasn’t even until he walked me back to my dorm that I thought to ask him what his name was. It’s Joseph Wynn. I even like the sound of his name. I like the sound of my name with his. Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Wynn, Mrs. Joseph Wynn, Mrs. Elizabeth Wynn. It has such a pleasant ring to it.
What lunacy has come upon me? I need to focus. Finals are in a week! They, and that wretched French lit paper, are all that stands between me and the college degree I have worked so hard for. But I feel like flying. How can I possibly sit in a chair with an old, dusty book? How can I focus when all I see before me are his dark hair and blue eyes and all I hear is the sweet sound of his voice saying my name?
When I introduced myself, he took my hand, and holding it longer than was, strictly speaking, necessary, raised it to his lips and said, “Beth, it has been a great pleasure. I hope to see you again very soon.” Then he winked, smiled, and turned to go.
No one has ever called me “Beth” before. I think I could get rather used to it.
From The Rose Ring