His biceps strain and relax beneath working hands, transferring bright flowers and plants into moist soil. Sweat silks his skin in the summer warmth, digging, planting, wiping his brow. I stand at a window in the Financial Aid hallway, sipping my coffee. Professor what’s-his-name listed off parts of The Allegory of the Cave today, all the while this man had begun transforming the dusty, rectangular void of a courtyard into a lively space where the sun shines in at ten o’clock. It’s beautiful, with its fresh sod and artisan benches. I shake off the stench of body odor and marker fumes that couldn’t reach the window in our classroom. I sip my coffee. I stare.
I don’t know how, but I know that much more can be learned by watching this man work with the earth than sitting in a philosophy lecture. I wonder if this landscaper is internally complaining. Does he like working for the company whose logo spreads on his t-shirt? If not, his body tells a different story. He makes it look so effortless. Like when your Dad showed you how to paint a wall or wash a car when you were young and you wondered how he could move so swiftly. His movements fit him like a glove, as I stand and watch in awe. A beautiful human man. Natural. Vibrant. Respectable. Nothing on that campus was ever more beautiful.
…You won’t be able to smoke out there.
Erica Jacquemin is an American woman traveling the world and writing about it, as seems that pieces of her being are scattered across the globe for her to find. Her afflatus comes from the immense beauty of this planet, the languages and cultures she wanders into, romantic relationships, and the Italian language. She is from the Northeast of The United States but calls Italy home.