There were so many things. She was a grad student who came to the Psych building with a professor she was doing research with at the time. Something related to REM and self abuse, but that's not really relevant. She wore white oxfords,khakis and penny loafers. Which I took to mean she was Southern and it only took a few moments to confirm that:

"Ah was wonering if you hahd any ide-ahs for whar we could have dinah? Professor Johnsun and ah were hoping for something close to the school?"

Oh, well yes I had some ideas, but they didn't involve her prof. I suggested a small diner downtown, but without him. I smiled trying to look charming and innocent at the same time.

"Sure, ah would like that probly, but ah will have to sorta ask him, if ya know what I mean-a?"

She had braces. I don't know if you know any women above the age of 22 who are both attractive and wear braces, but it's a strange combo. It gave her southern accent a lisp, but, smitten as I was, it was like syrup on warm pancakes.

Over sandwiches and cheap beer I asked her about Vanderbilt, kudzu and her dissertation. (I tried not to stare at the way her metal caught the light from the orange florescent lights in the diner.)

"Well, it's borin stuff about modulated speech patuns and the like, I don't think you would care much for it, I know my daddy doesn't. " "He will tell anyone who will listen what a waste of time it is, how I could be in sales in a heartbeat, as if that was a game ah would like."

What game would you like, I asked. Are you seeing someone?

"Well, we're sort of on the cusp, this man I know back at school. He is teaching in Economics, but of course I don't take anything over ther-ya, but still, it's a tad complicated. I think we're still dipping our toes in the water."

Do you realize how charming you are? Do you grasp how much danger you are in here in Yankee land? (Trying to phrase this as half serious/half kidding)

" Oh, ah know, ah have come across your kind afore now. Ah have traveled some and ah know how it works. As long as we can keep this on a level above this counter ah expect it will be fahn. (Smile, leaned her head on one shoulder) Ah probably ahm not as docile as you imagine. "

Probably not, I thought to myself, and that was the thought that kept me up nights over the next month. When she left to go back to Nashville she left me this note:


Michael, thanks for the hospitality. Very un-Yankee. I think some day you will find a magnolia tree suited to your climate. Best of luck, Louanne.

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