For no clear reasons I can see, a little snippet from my freshman year in college springs unbidden to mind:
In my first few weeks of school, went to visit somebody in another dorm. When we stepped in the door, there we saw, in bed together, a freshman girl and an older (not freshman) student guy. This was the first time in my 18 years of life up to that point where it became undeniably and viscerally clear to me that unmarried people did in fact have sex with each other.
The entire scene lasted a couple seconds before we retreated. The only other things I noticed was the expressions on the couple’s faces – she looked so happy, glowing, one might say. He looked not unpleased, but not joyful they way she looked.
A couple of things, observed over time: The guy was a good-looking, charming fellow. This particular young woman had a delightfully curvy body but was not noticeably pretty otherwise. This was a brief fling – the young lady eventually transferred out, the guy was gone after that year (might have graduated, I never got to know him).
But I remember the smile, the look on her face. The guy’s look was appropriate, given his understanding – he was slightly, maybe, embarrassed but mostly proud of his conquest. She, on the other hand, seemed far more enraptured than merely getting some sex could explain.
So, what was her understanding? What had just happened, from her perspective? She’s 18 years old, she’s away at college, a handsome man has said things to and about her that resulted in an intimate encounter – did she see this, in her heart as well as in her mind, as the meaningless fling it almost certainly was to the guy? How did her life go from there? His life?
This two people passed from my life 35 years ago. But I still think of them, from time to time.