Mark has a deep voice.
It caught me off guard the first time I heard it and I almost said “holy shit” right to his face. I refrained though, and it’s grown on me ever since.
It’s a small class, only 16 of us on the days where everyone is able to make it. It takes us a while to get into our normal groove, as side conversations fill the minimal empty space that encompasses our small chair-to-desk attachments. We talk about pie, pens, and everything under the sun, which has more literally and lately been, snow.
Someone begins to read and everyone quiets down, listening intently. If it is Jenny or Emma’s turn, you can watch Mark close his eyes carefully as he listens to their singsong voices flow through the words beautifully, with kind hints of their accents thrown in.
A select few of us have a knack for writing about what hurts. We empathize with one another, as we learn more about our classmates in one semester than friends we have had for an entire lifetime. We put our insides on our outsides and let the emotion drape the words on the page like a warm hug enveloping a crumbling body in its time of need.
Silence rarely prevails as words often fill the empty spaces all over again and praise falls upon the writer. Words of kindness and encouragement flow freely out of several mouths before moving onto the next piece of the day.
Negativity does not have a home here.
The 75-minute long class period gives us hardly enough time to say what we want to say. If anything, I have learned how much I am not alone. I think of the critiques and lines of sympathy that dance across incandescent pieces of white paper as they hang scattered upon the wall my bed horizontally lies against. Paragraphs upon paragraphs, typed and scripted, all fit haphazardly against the cool, pale yellow partition I share with my roommate. Every piece of paper different, each hanging askew, are puzzled together like the people in this class.
Not one is left astray.
“Hold up, who the hell just said they didn’t like cheesecake,” Jackie yells across the room, and everyone freezes momentarily. “I’m about to whoop some ass,” she continues and we all burst at the seams from laughter as class comes to an end, and we all file out one after the other.
For 75 minutes, two times a week for sixteen weeks, we all have a home here.