Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gossip – Frank Conroy

Frank Conroy - January 15, 1936 – April 6, 2005

Another really good short.

As Carver promised…a story to show us what it was and is like out there.

This story covers several decades but there was a particular piece that I related to.

A section of this story deals with the main character as a professor. A female student of the character/professor is a victim of some gossip linking her romantically/sexually with the professor…and there we have the storyline that I can understand.

It was difficult during my time in Romania to keep the gossip about me under control. In fact, there was no controlling it. I was able to keep the gossip concerning my romantic affairs to a minimum. Just a minimum…not completely under control.

I worked hard to make sure that I was not seen in the company of girls or women. I was careful not to be alone in classrooms with female students. Lines would be drawn and assumptions made.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there were ample opportunities early in my time at the school where I could have established myself as man of many women…but I knew of the negative consequences associated with such a label.

Plus, I think I have a pretty realistic view of the world, and I know my place in it, and the reality of it is, that the fact that I was an American in the village only polished to a pretty decent shine what is underneath…a pretty average guy.

It was difficult for M and I to completely hide our relationship once we took that step, and we knew that tongues were wagging, but we worked our hardest to make our relationship look professional. Honestly, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure everyone knew.

Mid-summer of 2000, when the notice of our marriage appeared outside of the mayor’s office, everyone’s assumptions were proven true and our daily walks around town caused eyes to settle on us just a bit longer and the whispers and smiles to increase just a bit more.

Just as the student in this story felt the weight of the gossip, I’m sure that M and her family felt the weight of our relationship and marriage much more than I did or will probably ever know.

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