! The Couple In The Evening Class
As the new year’s evening class
filed in, in varying displays of enthusiasm or cool,
discreetly summing up their tutor
you couldn’t help but notice them
despite their modest manner –
of equal height, and that a little under average
couples attending class together
always catch my too premature thoughts –
has he brought her? has she brought him?
is this just a stage in careful courtship,
attending a class together?
where will they sit? couples tend to choose
the front row or the back, I’ve noticed;
often arrive at ease, as if they’ve met up after work,
taken a coffee or a light snack…
which will ask a question first? and when they do,
will some slight frisson of emotional thought-wave
pass between them? suppose after the first term,
one leaves, one stays – will the one who stays, feel freer
to ask more questions? or will I sense
that invisible tug of apron-strings…?
over the weeks, although they gave no overt sign of it,
they became a sweet, still place in the class,
a perfect balance between individuality and togetherness;
when he or she asked a question or gave an answer,
the other radiated almost imperceptibly
a quiet pride so pure that it was more, delight,
as one might do with a son or daughter.
At the end of the year, our paths went their separate ways;
and yet, after so many years, so many classes, so many students,
they’ve left a quiet place in my memory;
of humble simplicity, strength clothed as modesty,
boundless possibility –
they, the silent tutor;
I, the observing student.