Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"She Belongs With Him"

I like Taylor Swift, even if her songs are about high school melodramas. The lyrics of "You Belong With Me" remind me of Anna and John. Anna was a freshman in college with a boyfriend when she first saw John singing in the University of Virginia choir. His voice was distinguishable from the rest.

“He’s good,” her boyfriend said.”

And good looking, Anna thought. She was trying out for the chorus and knew a good voice when she heard one. John was an RA in Anna’s UVA dorm and took his assignment seriously. As a senior, he wasn’t about to get involved with an 18-year-old, even if she was tall and beautiful. Neverless, Anna held out hope. She broke up with her boyfriend and waited.

She might have been singing along with Taylor: "If you could see that I'm the one who understands you / Been here all along so why can't you see? / You belong with me."

Finally John graduated. And then he got in touch with Anna, hoping she hadn’t found someone else. She hadn’t. She’s a woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t settle for less.

While they were dating, John applied and was accepted at UVA medical school. He was doing a residency as an emergency room doc when he proposed. Anna said yes. They were married a year ago, but there’d been no time for a honeymoon until last week when they swung by Fern Forest for a night in the treehouse on their way from a stay in Montreal. We greeted them and then dashed to have dinner with friends. Instead of going out to eat, they took over the kitchen and made themselves supper with food they’d picked up along the way.

When we returned, they had cleaned up the kitchen and were watching House, a show John says bears little resemblance to hospital reality, but Anna likes it. In fact, she liked it enough to apply to medical school herself and starts this fall at University of Pennsylvania. She and John will be separated for nine months, after which he hopes to work in a Philadelphia hospital to be with Anna, but, in the meantime, I don’t think distance will be an obstacle for them. John is wired with the latest technology, his iTouch always with him, and he told us about a microchip that fits in the running shoe and connects to your iPod to play music in time with your pace. I'm sure they'll be Skyping every day, and Anna plans to travel down to Virginia every few weeks to see him.

John pulsates with energy. If I needed a trip to the ER and found John at my bedside, I know I’d be in good hands. His father is Portuguese, which must be where he gets his Mediterranean good looks. He’s one of the few in his family to get a college education and the first to go to graduate school. I can imagine how proud his parents are of him.

When I asked Anna why she didn’t apply to Virginia med school, she told me that her grandmother went to Penn during the Depression, when it was unusual for a woman to get a college degree. She wanted to honor her grandmother by going to Penn.

We didn’t get to spend much time with these bright young newlyweds because they were leaving early the next morning for a beach house in Delaware to meet up with some of Anna’s high school girlfriends (they call themselves the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) and their spouses. Maybe they’ll come back, and, when they do, maybe they’ll sing us a song.

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