Tissues to Wipe Away the Tears

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 2nd May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/44nog577/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

University life comes with lots of classes and lots of hard work. Sometimes it brings love to two lonely people.


Brad was not particularly good looking. He wasn't necessarily a great student though he worked hard and somehow managed to be in most of my psychology courses. He was quiet and sweet and managed to do all the assignments given to him. He never socialized with the students, but I got the feeling he sought me out. He signed up for whatever research project I was on.

I tried to make conversation with him on topics other than psychology. I could see he was a loner who probably needed a friend. Many times we were the oldest students in the class. I returned to school at 37 and Brad looked to be about 33 to 35. I figured he felt comfortable in study groups with me because we were so close in age. He may not have felt comfortable with younger students.


My suspicions were right. Brad was 36 years old. He never completed high school and once let it slip that he felt he was too old to be in school, he couldn't learn as fast as the young people we saw around us. He wouldn't tell me much more than that.

By the end of the first year even though he was passing his courses he felt he was way out of his league. Being the person that I am and knowing that I am a psychology honor student, I just had to know why he felt that way and I just had to convince him to stay in university whether or not he stayed in psychology. I made it a mission to sit down and chat with him whenever I could. Most of the time it was me doing the talking.

I found out that he left high school in his last year to work in his father's fledgling auto body shop. Brad was the oldest of five children. Brad's Dad was already 51 years old and struggling to make ends meet. Brad was expected to take his missing credits in summer school. However, by the time summer rolled around he told his father he would not go back.

By Brad working for his father, they could save money. They wouldn't have to hire another employee. Brad's mom did the books and handled the phones. When Patsy, Brad's baby sister got married, his dad decided to sell the business and retire. Brad continued to work in the auto body shop but it wasn't the same anymore. He wasn't working alongside his dad and he lost his interest in working on the cars.

Patsy had taken some university courses and convinced Brad to do the same. Brad wanted a career where he could deal people. He said to me "I spent my life under the hood of a car, now I want to see and talk to the people around me." It would not be until the next school year that I would understand the true impact of those words.

When he was looking through the courses offered at the university; psychology piqued his interest and so he applied for admission and was accepted as a mature student. Yet, as his first year came to an end he was not sure "if this whole university thing is right for me. Maybe I need to get back under the hood of a car," he confided in me.

I explained to him that he had just ventured outside of his comfort zone; he was in a transitional period. I cautioned him not to give up. It could be that psychology really wasn't the correct discipline for him; but it did not mean that he could not find his niche.

Up until this point he had not chosen any electives and concentrated only on core psychology courses. I wanted him to take a summer course with me and we would choose an elective together. He declined the offer. He still had to work at the auto body shop to help pay for his courses. He did agree he would come back in September and take an elective with me.

We exchanged phone numbers and maybe had the opportunity to speak once or twice over the summer. I had my doubts that he would come back to the university in September, but he did.

I met Beth

The first semester of the new school year didn't work out for us. We were unable to pick an elective we both liked that would suit both our schedules. I chose sociology as an elective and it was there that I met Beth.

Beth was also very quiet and didn't have any friends. She was an American from Michigan. She didn't have any family. Her mom who was a single parent died of kidney failure when Beth was 19. Beth wandered through life aimlessly for a few years and then decided she wanted to change her life around. Since there was no one keeping her at home, she decided to get a university education from Montreal. She lived on campus and in actual fact I was her only friend.

Maybe some of you can see where this is going. I got a flash. Why don't I introduce Beth to Brad? They were both very quiet and the only friend they had was me. Unfortunately when I brought up the possibility of meeting Beth, Brad was dead set against it. Why? I wanted to know. I just got a gruff, "I don't have time” out of him. "I work, study, go school and work again, I don't have time for meeting people," he said.

I knew Brad well enough to know that I would not get anything more out of him on the subject. I also knew that he had a bit of a stubborn streak in him. I would have to drop the direct approach, but that didn't mean I had to give up completely.

The second semester of the second year of university approached and I was fully aware of what courses both Brad and Beth were taking. I reminded Brad that we had yet to take an elective together. Unbeknownst to him, I suggested one that I knew Beth was also taking. It had a study group component to it and I knew both of them would be in my study group.

When it was time to form the groups for the course, the gods must have been looking down on us because we were the only study group with three students while every other one had four.

Of course I was the leader of the study group and they were the followers. One day I had booked a library room to discuss our project. Brad and I were the first to arrive but Beth was late. While we were waiting for her I was looking over our notes and Brad was doodling on paper. I really wasn't paying attention to what he was doing.

Beth arrived about five minutes later. Brad left his note pad out while we were discussing our topic. We took a short break midway through and Beth seemed very interested in Brad's scribbling. She asked to see it. When she looked at it she started to cry. Both Brad and I were taking aback. We didn't know what to do.

Brad made a joke. He asked if his scribble was so horrible that she had to cry. "No, no," she said, "on the contrary it is beautiful." Apparently he had drawn a little girl sitting under an apple tree reading a book. It was quite good actually.

When it was time to return the keys, I knew Brad had to leave quickly to get to work on time, but I thought Beth would come with me. Instead she informed me that she would be leaving the same time as Brad.

After that day at in the study room, things were not much different between Brad and me, though I was seeing less and less of Beth. I suspected something might be going on between them and they were keeping it hush hush. Until one day when Brad approached me and asked me to have a coffee with him.

Brad explained that he really liked Beth however he feared he drove her away. Apparently she asked him to go to a "sociology student's get together with her and he declined. He told me she looked hurt and turned away quickly so he wouldn't see her cry.

He revealed to me that he just didn't know how to act in front of women. He had been a loner all his life. He never had a girlfriend. He devoted his life first to school, and then to work. He never really had a close male friend either. His brother and three sisters served as his friends.

Then he did something so uncharacteristic; he asked me for some coaching on how to approach Beth and let her know his true feelings.

I was happy to help. Beth was a very special young woman. She was 7 years his junior and his perfect mate. Once they got together they were inseparable. Brad's family adored her and since she had no family of her own, they quickly became the family she never had. Beth even considered me her sister as well as her best friend.

The kleenex box

Even though I feel I did a wonderful job of coaching him in those early days, Brad was not without his own creativity.

He was to impress the both of us on Aug 23, 1997; two years from the time they first met.
It was Beth's 31st birthday. She was told that Brad's family was going to have a dinner for her in lieu presents. Brad apologized profusely and said that his loan and bursary had not yet come in from the government. He had hoped to get her present with some of that money.

Beth being the person that she was hugged him and said she was just happy to have dinner with her precious family. It meant more to her than any present ever could. I hated to break up that tender moment but I reminded them that the family was expecting us and we had to get a move on.

We had a wonderful meal and then it was time to hand out the presents. Beth was so humble she hadn't expected presents after what Brad had told her. She thanked the family profusely and exclaimed that the dinner was more than enough. The last present to be given out was a surprise present from Brad. Everyone knew about the gift and we all were part of the surprise.
Brad sheepishly handed her a carefully wrapped package. But when she opened the gift it was a box of tissue paper. He made a heartfelt speech about how sensitive she was and how she cried at the least little thing. He told her how she had captured his heart the minute she cried over his silly little sketch that day in the library study hall.

The engagement

The family agreed the box of tissue and the sentiment behind it was the nicest thing their son had ever given anyone. Brad's mother even cried.

I wasn't quite sure what was going through Beth's mind at the time. She seemed a little confused; then said, "Brad, you are gentlest sweetest person I have ever known and I ...
Brad interrupted, "Hon, I know you are going to cry and it is okay to cry in front of my family, they understand."

Then he took out a few tissues to give her. As he was doing that, he purposely dropped the box on the floor. It was the cue for Brad's father to say,

"What's that, do I see something in the box? Beth do you see something too or are my old eyes playing tricks on me?"

Beth picked up the tissue box again and right there in front of her was a little black box. Instead of opening the box she just stared at it.

Brad's dad broke the silence by saying, "aren't you going to open it? You can use the tissues later."

Beth opened the box to see a diamond engagement ring. Her eyes widened like saucers and the tears trickled down her cheeks.

Brad took the box out of her hand, got down on one knee and slid the ring on her finger. He asked her to marry him in front of all the people who meant the most to the both of them.

The tears were rapidly flowing now as she softly said "yes."

As Brad stood up, she also stood up and fell into his arms. They hugged until Brad's Dad tapped her on the shoulder. He handed her the tissue and said, "Now don't forget Brad's real present here."

Everyone laughed and the real celebration, the engagement party began.

All photos taken from the public domain
Do you have a passion to write? Do you want to share your words with the world while getting royalties on your work for years to come? Follow me here on Wikinut


Engagement, Falling In Love, Love, Love Stories, Mechanics, Psychology Class, Relationships Education, Sociology Classes, University, University Classes, University Life

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


Add a comment
Can't login?