It’s Sunday morning. It’s bright and cool, the sort of fall morning that makes the world’s problems seem like fake news. Peter and I are at the Marriott Courtyard, off campus. This morning’s breakfast is Peter’s 19th birthday present to me.
I’m redorkulously happy and surprisingly hungry. Somewhere, in the noisy, happy sounding kitchen, there's a bacon, cheddar-cheese, tomato, ham, green-pepper, and spinach omelette being convoked in my name, and my tummy is growling in anticipation.
Our waiter brought us large white mugs of nutmeg coffee - God bless her for that. Sipping it, I scanned the dining room, where carefree, normal people were enjoying their brunches. They didn’t look like they had hours of reading and problem-sets (homework) waiting for them later - but who knows?
Peter leaned forward, smiling, to refill my mug and then, when adding some cream, he almost overfilled it. I couldn’t help chuckling. I enjoy this awkward man’s company beyond all sanity, to the point that it’s a little cringy and embarrassing. Our smiles seemed to clang together, like symbols. I wish I could bask in the warmth of that smile all day.
“You could do me a favor,” I say shyly, “a little extra present?” I said, trying to look pitiable.
“What?” he asks, with a skeptical look. I open my bag and pull out my latest physics PSET (a homework problem set).
“This problem haunted me in my dreams last night,” I say, smoothing out the wrinkled paper and rotating it so it was right-side-up for him. “#6,” I said, confirming that with a pointing finger.
He glances at it. “Ahh, classical mechanics?” he guessed. “Right,” I confirmed.
He looks up at me through his bushy, brown eyebrows, “You took AP physics one in high school and physics 2 last year?” He asked. “Yeah,” I confirmed, “but this problem is throwing me.”
“Well,” he says, motioning me to hand him my pen, “you’re perspicacious all right, but you’re basically a biology major,” he begins, “a set of studies that involve a memorization mentality. For physics one and two, I bet you memorized Maxwell's laws, the Kinematic equations and the table of equation cases, ya?”
I nodded yes.
“Unfortunately, that’s not going to cut it here,” he says, shaking his head, “All of those nice simplifications aren’t in play here - there are no cases to rely on - it’s derive as you go.” As he explained this he was briskly scribbling something on a paper napkin and the answer was there, on that, a second later, when he rotated the paper back to me.
His eyes are a dark, gingerbread brown, but despite that darkness, they seemed warm and lit from within. A swoop of his dark blue-black hair has fallen across his forehead, I leaned over the small table to tuck it back into place. “Thank you,” I said, breathing a sigh of relief, “did you show your work?” I asked as I folded the paper and napkin away.
“Of course,” he says, amused, “but we’ll review it later,” he assured me.
“Happy birthday ME!” I said, in a whispered cheer.
“Yes,” he grinned, “Happy Birthday, YOU,” he pronounced as our omelettes arrived
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Perspicacious: “the keen ability to understand difficult or amorphous things.”
Redorkulously = so ridiculous it’s dorky