Mr. Magpie

Standing on Mars.

By: Jen Shoop

Here is his hand in mine,

Here are his eyes on me —

The din of Scott Stadium muffled, a featureless kaleidoscope of orange and blue. I wore the colors, too, comme il faut, but there were girls beside me who knew the yardage and threw their hands up in dismay at bad calls, their cheeks pink with outrage, the orange ribbons in their hair signifying spirit I only borrowed for the purpose of finding him.

I had known I would find him that still-warm fall day, can remember looking for him. In a stadium of thousands, the odds were stacked against us, but still, I’d craned my neck for him.

He was by the exit onto Alderman and Whitehead. He turned twice, the second time in recognition. Then: the shortest greeting, a half-hug, half-hand-grab, and his friends were paces ahead of him, wandering into the fracas, and he tossed something to me over his shoulder — have a good first semester!, maybe, the brim of his hat over his hazel eyes, but

here is his hand in mine,

as though blotting out the sun.

Afterward, the wild flailing inward! My companions were talking about the yard line or the muddy grass beneath their Jack Rogers sandals, and I was wandering extraterrestrial.

I think of that, often, the way you can be standing next to someone on Mars, and not know it. That is, she might have just heard terrific news, or enjoyed some windfall, or fallen in love, and yet here you are, complaining about the sod. I felt that way — as though on another planet — that day, moonstruck and thunder-bolted, and then many times while engaged and then pregnant, too, only my other-worldliness in the latter two cases was visible by way of ring and roundness, and I found these “tells” strangely and occasionally annoyingly intimate. I think sometimes my private joys are the most satisfying: there are no performances, no “well, anyway –” when you’ve gone on too long. You can sit in Maupin Hall and think for hours about his eyes on yours and no one can tell you to shut up about it. You can wander for as long as you’d like in that ether, knowing — just knowing — that you’ll find him again, and that the spacewalk will be worth it.


+Remember when we took our time?

+When Landon visited me in Lyon.


+More on falling in love at UVA.

Shopping Break.

+Jenni Kayne does it again — this dress is so incredibly chic in either (both) colors.

+Fun Gap crochet mini.

+Inexpensive rash guards for toddlers in great solid colors, plus $20 swim trunks for boys in great patterns.

+Shopbop is offering an extra 25% off sale — obsessed with this top (pair with our favorite Spanx pants for a chic, crisp work look) and this saucy apron-style dress from SEA.

+Not part of the sale, but love the heart motif on the hem of this dress.

+Adore this patterned smocked skirt.

+Obsessed with this gauze maxi.

+Very into racing green at the moment, this striped sweater no exception.

+Apparently this eye cream had a 3,000 person waitlist? Very intrigued. Really love their balmy lip gloss. I’ve turned into a lip color gal over the past few weeks, after using mainly EA 8-Hour Cream for many years.

+Cute linen cropped blazer.

+Does anyone love her wireless sport headphones? I feel like mine (which I’ve loved — waterproof, sweatproof, lightweight, never fall out my ears) are on their last legs. Do I go with another pair or does anyone have something she is passionate about? The Beats ones get good reviews.

+These 6-oz juice glasses are my absolute favorite for drinking everything from juice to wine. We call them “stubs” in our house. Ha! For water, we love these cooler glasses (in the taller height) from CB2.

+LOVE these outdoors chaise longues. Actually love the entire line, including the table/chairs and couch.

+Chic denim joveralls.

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8 thoughts on “Standing on Mars.

  1. Seriously love this piece of writing, and relate to it so much when I think back on my relationship with my fiancé! (And even a college romance too — young love!)

    I know I’m late here & you may have a new pair of headphone by now, but I also have the Beats for my workout headphones (running, cycling) and they are great — I haven’t had an issue with them getting stuck in my hair or shirt or anything. Two thumbs up!


    1. Thank you SO much. I so appreciate the lovely feedback!

      And also thank you for the Beats tip!!!


  2. “You can wander for as long as you’d like in that ether, knowing — just knowing — that you’ll find him again, and that the spacewalk will be worth it.” Swoon!
    You have such a gift with words, Jen! (P.S. Please write a book!!)

  3. Wow! So beautiful – this touches on such an intimate insight about experiencing life. I can’t stop re-reading it!

  4. Love your blog. I’m a huge fan of the beats. I’ve tried a bunch of sports headphones and they are my favs. Have 2 pairs!

    1. Thank you, Laura!! You’re tipping me in that direction!! Do you find the wire around back gets stuck in your shirt at all?


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