Her name was Yvonne. Yvonne Patricia Anderson.
She wore skirts and cardigans; he liked the way the material swished against her nylons as she walked carefully to her desk every morning.
He’d sit glasses pinched to farm-boy face trying to study Calculus, unable to stop staring at her shoes. The way they rested polite, discreet, British. Just like her accent.
“She had a peaches and cream complexion,” Dad says.
“He kept trying to talk to me,” says Mum. “I found him annoying.”
Dad smiles, blushes around wire rims. Mum reaches shaky, squeezes his hand.
Their first date was to the Whipple Tree Restaurant on March 17, 1976. Dad had saved up enough coupons to take her there. It was the finest place to dine on campus, and he proudly pulled out her chair and stared into her shy eyes while the other students wore green and sang Irish drinking songs.
Then, summer and biking hours on gravel roads to meet each other. Neither of their parents approving. Their first kiss, beneath a falling star.
They were married in a corn field and then, Africa and four babies and Dad teaching farm to the blind and Mum staring down at her British shoes now soiled and homeschooling and skim milk powder and second-hand clothes and bringing toys home from the dump because we were poor and Dad in ministry and moving, always moving, then Mum’s mother, dead in bathtub and Mum getting cancer and now,
he tucks afghan tight around her legs and kneels to put on her shoes, ones that remind him of Calculus class and she touches his balding head with her hand and turns to me.
“A falling star,” Mum says, smiling. “That’s when we first kissed.”
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