A Place Where We’re Understood


A Profile Narrative


By Anna Sykes






Holly’s room is filled with photographs and posters illuminated by the warm light from her lamps. Next to her computer are a series of photographs of her and an attractive guy sharing a laugh or a passionate embrace.

"Who is this?" I ask pointing at the guy in the picture.

"That’s my boyfriend, Brandon"

"How did you guy’s Meet?"

"It is sort of a long story."

"I have plenty of time." I responded. And she began to share her story.

* * * * * *

"Sitting on a porch of a house that closely resembled the other houses in a suburban neighborhood of Colorado Springs, Colorado. As I sit here I converse with people who I don’t know but that resemble me. I knew the only reason Mike invited me to the Barbecue was because he had just ended a relationship with his girlfriend, which meant that he had no date for prom. Mike was a nice guy and since we were friends I didn’t mind saying yes when he asked me to go to prom with him, even though I knew I was just a pity date.

Sitting on the porch talking to these people, I notice a guy approaching. He is about 6’5" tall, with a muscular build and blond hair. As I watch him approach, I feel myself getting excited. The air is filled with suspense as I anticipate meeting this gorgeous stranger. Mike stands up and calls me over. "Holly, I want you to meet my best friend, Brandon."

"Oh God. I’m in trouble," I think to myself. The moment becomes intense as we shake hands. There is no denying that there is an instant attraction between us. Our eyes meet and it seems as if neither one of us really wants to look away or let go. It’s as if we both know that we want to be together. While I am talking with other people in the group I can feel him looking at me. In mid-sentence I forget what it is that I am trying to say. The harder I try to avoid eye contact the more I look at him.

I am sitting in this house talking to these people I don’t know when Mike’s ex-girlfriend arrives. Mike and his ex-girlfriend leave the rest of the group. I begin feeling awkward and out of place. When Brandon’s eyes find me, I remember how much I want to get to know him. As he strides over I observe how remarkably handsome he is. "Have you seen Mike?", he asks "No, I think he went to talk with his ex-girlfriend," I reply. I tell Brandon how I feel, like maybe I should leave, but he encourages me to stay.

We laugh a little -not because we are nervous, but because we both know that this entire time we wanted to talk to one another. We don’t have to say it out loud because we understand each other so well. We continue to talk and as we talk I can feel the already intense vibe begin to increase. We can’t stop talking to each other or stop being next to each other. We hadn’t even noticed that people were leaving Mike’s barbecue. Brandon offers to give me a ride home and, of course, I accept his offer.

Unable to let the night die we decide to stop by the "Garden of the Gods." Once we are there we go to a red rock formation called the kissing camels. We continue to talk about our desires and our fears. It seems like we had known each other for more than just a few hours. The intensity that we are feeling takes over both of us completely. We stop talking and allow the passion to escape from our hearts as we kiss.

* * * * * *

Next to the pictures of her and Brandon there are pictures of her with her sorority sisters and friends. Between her bed and her closet rests a black guitar case. Admiring a cute little lamp with a shade made of Chinese paper, I say,

"Nice lamp."

"Thanks. It’s like the only thing I own, you know," she replies.

Resuming my inspection of her pictures, I ask,

"Why did you decide to join Zeta Tau Alpha?"

"At first I wasn’t really into the whole sorority girl thing but since most of my friends were Zetas it seemed like the right choice."

"Do you enjoy being a Zeta?"

"Definitely. I feel like it consists of a diverse group of really cool people. This is important because the members are different from the people I was surrounded by in my environment."

"What was your environment like?"

"My family is real close. We like to hug and show affection. I feel real fortunate to have a family that loves me and supports me. My mother is beautiful. She is a personal trainer. My father is in the military. When I was young, we moved around a lot but we lived in Colorado for about six years. I basically consider Colorado my home. My neighborhood was white upper middle class."

"Why did you decide to come here?"

"The main reason is because during my senior year my family was relocated to Texas, so I knew that I had to go to a school somewhere in Texas. Southwestern is the size that I want and it has the academic credentials that I was looking for. Plus, I like the fact that Southwestern is so close to Austin. I couldn’t live in Austin right now because I would always go out and listen to some live music somewhere. I love Austin. I think that it has a unique quality."

"I always feel like I have to be busy doing something. When I was in high school I was in Jazz Choir, I played volleyball, I starred in musicals, and I was a member of SADD and National Junior Honor Society. I mean, what did all of that matter?"

"Is that your guitar?"

Cheerfully she says "yeah." She removes the guitar from its case. After she has shown me the guitar she proceeds to put the guitar back in its case.

"Wait. Don’t put it away yet. Will you play me a song?"

With a slightly shy look on her face she looks at me and asks,

"What do you want to hear? I mean do you want to hear something I wrote or…."

Interrupting her I say, "I want to hear whatever you want to play".

She confidently picks up her guitar and begins strumming. Her eyes look up towards the ceiling like she is searching for the right words or melody. When her eyes close she begins to sing the chorus of the song.

Babe, get in, let’s drive

Become Alive

I love you; don’t care if I should

But the moon’s getting high

Don’t speak; let me drive

To the place where we’re understood….

Her petite appearance disguises her powerful and beautiful voice. Her voice is slightly raspy which is something that is usually heard in the sultry voices of mature singers. It also has a soft intensity, similar to Jewel, and not quite as piercing as Alanis Morissette. She has a combination of various styles but is at the same time unique. The richness of her voice and the sincerity of her lyrics enchant me. I recognize that she is truly gifted. I am astounded.

Her eyes are still closed and, as she is coming to the close of her song, I can feel her emotions. When she opens her eyes I clap.

"Did you write that song?"

"Yeah. It’s based on my relationship with Brandon. It’s the first song that I have ever written for someone.

"Has he heard it?"

"I have never played in front of him before. I don’t know, Brandon is different, I’m scared he won’t get how much this means. Music can make me feel like I just cried or ran a mile. When I get upset all I need is my guitar and I can play alone in my room until I feel better. My sister and I play together and I have played this song for other people, but when it comes to Brandon I am hesitant. Music is a part of me; and if he doesn’t get that then that means he doesn’t get me. To me, love means understanding.

* * * * * *




Somewhere at Southwestern a petite girl with blonde hair and sweet blue eye’s is sitting and talking to people she doesn’t know. In her mind she is singing:

Babe, get in, let’s drive

Become Alive

I love you; don’t care if I should

But the moon’s getting high

Don’t speak; let me drive

To the place where we’re understood….










I wanted to accurately express how I perceived Holly and her experiences. My goal in this profile narrative was to emphasize Holly’s love for music. In the part where Holly tells the story of how her and Brandon first meet, I attempted to write it as if it where a song. In the first line of the beginning paragraph I write, "Sitting on the porch", this line is repeated again in the following paragraph and throughout the rest of the story. I hoped that this repetition would create a likeness to that of a chorus in a song. Even after the interview I bring the chorus back in the end, only this time I use the line "sitting and talking to people she doesn’t know." The word "sitting" serves as a cue for the chorus. I am not sure that I successfully conveyed her story as a sort of song. Trying to achieve this was a difficult task.