I know you remember me. I made sure you would. When visiting students had a chance to meet some professors during orientation, I was the one who made a beeline for your stand, and—without so much as a breath—spewed out, “Hi my name is Jessica and I’m here in Ireland doing research for a book I’m writing about fairies and the Celtic gods and your class looks so amazing and I’m very interested but I’ve never taken an archaeology class or anything like that before cause I’m a literature major and usually artists don’t make very good scientists haha—I’m actually really bad at all that stuff and—well is that okay? I hope it’s okay—but it’s a science-fiction novel so I’m still interested in the methodology but I also want to know if I’ll learn about Celtic mythology and fairies and gods in your class. Or um. If that’s all okay? Um… sorry.”
To your credit, you only raised one eyebrow and smiled—perhaps a little endeared, definitely not annoyed. “Oh so are you a grad student or…?”
“No.” I allowed myself a small, self-aware, smug little smirk. “Just ambitious.”
You liked that. I know because you chuckled. “Well, Jessica, you’ll definitely learn a lot about the Celts and other early Irish civilizations; and some of their rituals and beliefs. It should compliment your research nicely. You really don’t need any previous archeological experience to do well—just be sure to show up for class and review and the like. Ye can even turn in a creative piece for your final paper, if you prefer.”
“Oh that’s great! Thank you so much. I’m very excited…. I’m sorry to’ve wasted your time… Thank you—I never miss class—really hate missing class—and I work very hard, or I try to uh…um. Yeah. Thanks.”
You shook your head once to dismiss all my apologies, gave me a full up and down (in my baggy, high-waist jeans and little cropped top that showed an only slightly inappropriate amount of skin.) “Oh, I’m sure you do.”
…Okay. That last bit never actually happened. But you sure said it (and a few other things) when I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about it again later that night ;).
I know you remember me because I made sure you wouldn’t—couldn’t— forget. I know because now when you’re lecturing and look out into the sea of hundreds of students, I’m almost certain that I get a few extra glances; especially when I’m wearing knee-high socks (won’t let you forget me), perched at the edge of my seat (which is—of course—front row and center.)
Really, it is only a testimate to the degree of my helplessly huge crush that I can’t seem to remember a single thing you say once I leave class. Because it’s definitely not that I’m uninterested in the subject. In fact, I know you can tell I hang on every sing-songed word, witty quip, and intriguing fact that comes out of those lips which seem to carry a permanent half-smile. No. It’s that today you’re wearing a very tastefully light lilac collared shirt that brings out your eyes. And when you unbutton the top two buttons like that, I really can’t help but notice that you have big, rough hands. So then obviously I can’t stop myself from imagining those hands gently but firmly gripping a sacred artifact, brushing off the dust with a tensed kind of delicacy, before they…
No. I shake myself, manage to tune in long enough to hear you say that because megalithic societies established more sedentary lifestyles, their identities were more tightly bound to their community and land than the neoliths, leading to a shift toward possession, hierarchy, and an emphasis on trophies. Humans began to develop much more territorial behavior. I write all that down because I couldn’t more agree with you. But as I’m writing, I miss a question and you praise some brunette girl for answering it correctly instead. She gets this googley-eyed, dumb fucking love sick look on her stupid little face. Then she demurely averts her eyes back to her notebook.
I feel a snarl rise in the back of my throat.
I’ll answer the next one. And I won’t have a stupid fucking face either.
I do a good job of keeping focused for at least half an hour. You are describing some of the Neolithic burial traditions and explain that sometimes the bodies were disarticulated for the burial ritual—does anyone know what that is? How would we, as archeologists, know that this happened? I look around but no one wants to answer that one. “Come on,” you encourage, “I know ye’ve only just eaten your breakfasts and it’s a bit gruesome but—”
“They were chopped up,” I say evenly, not bothering to raise my hand. Flash my eyes at the brunette.
You laugh at my bluntness. “And what evidence would that leave behind?”
I pause. “Butchery marks on the bones. From the flints and axes and stuff.”
“Very right,” you say before moving on.
But I don’t move on because suddenly my cheeks—face—midriff—whole body is engulfed in flames. It’s too hot in this room. I don’t know what to do—have half a mind to rip all my clothes off right then and there, punch that brunette bitch in her stupid fucking face, pounce onto the desk at the front of your lecture hall, crawl over to you and…
But my vision is cut short, as my ears perk up at something my over-sexed brain is evidently intrigued enough to pick up.
Pointing to a picture of some oddly shaped artifacts, you say, “The significance of these Mushroom-headed Bone Pins are elusive. They don’t seem to have much practical use, so some archeologists have suggested that perhaps they’re phallic symbolism, placed around burial sites to represent fertility.” The smirk widens a little. “Some of the nuttier archeologists out there get a little carried away with that stuff, though, writing about how the rising sun—you know—the light penetrating into the tombs.” The class titters. “It’s all a bit over romanticized to be very convincing, but there is some evidence for belief that the annual cycle and fertility were connected to an intercession from the gods…”
And there it is. Right back to being on all fours, slinking across the desk, that hungry look in my eyes—the others all gone; I hung back to ask you something about, uh, the gods and/or penetration. Grab a fistful of your shirt. You grip me just like one of your sacred artifacts, wrap my legs above your waist. Fumbling hands, working frantically (unzipping, unbuttoning, ripping), because leave enough time to think and you’d remember (still wouldn’t let you forget) yourself, end it, make me leave. Instead, light penetrates; and from the first low, long guttural grunt, I know you really won’t be forgetting me any time soon—I know because of the way you pin me down, breath heavy, make sure I can’t get away.
“Teach me,” I whimper. “Oh teach me… everything… professor.”
“In mating rituals,” you’re saying in between grunts, being a good sport and playing along, “the megalithic Celts… would take their sexy little blonde trophies, turn them onto their stomachs—” and, being a thorough professor, you demonstrate on me, “—to enjoy the lovely view.”
“More. Teach me more!” I simper.
But I never did get to learn what other naughty things the megaliths did during their mating rituals (a pity cause it’s the most I learned all day) because I’m jarred by the loud clamoring noises of 100 students collectively moving chairs, zipping up backpacks, chatting. I try to remember where the hell I am, or what class I’m supposed to going to next; give up, growl, and morph into the crowd. I look back at you only once.
I guess I’ll have to wait until next class to find out the ending to the megalithic mating rituals.