The professor stood in front of the class, leaning ever so slightly on the podium. In one hand he held a sleek black iPhone, and every so often he would swipe a finger across the screen, and a new Powerpoint slide would appear on the screen behind him.
He was lecturing on textual criticism of the Bible, and we were discussing the various errors that can be made when creating a copy of something by hand. Misreading the original, mishearing an oral message of the original, accidentally writing the wrong letter without realizing it. Bullet-pointed lists slid across the overhead screen in steady succession, as the class diligently took notes.
He’s a good professor, and interacts with his students with an air of familiarity and ease, resulting in a relaxed, yet still highly structured, class setting. We raise our hands, we ask questions, we discuss, we answer questions he asks from the front, stepping out in faith that it really wasn’t, in fact, a rhetorical question.
I was sitting in my customary spot, settled neatly into the little circle of friends and acquaintances that surround me. Since last class, the fourth desk in from the aisle had been switched for a left-handed one, and I was trying valiantly to make the best of this slight hiccup in my normally scheduled life.
As is our practice, I had scooted my seat almost twelve inches further back than the rest of the aisle, enabling the dear friend sitting behind me to rest her little feet on the back of my chair. She tugged on one of my earrings playfully, complimenting me quietly on the little gold hoops. I grinned my thanks and whispered a quick response, before returning to my note taking.
And then the professor began talking about words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things, and he asked us what such words are called. And hushed and rather timid suggestions rose from the gathered class. Soon, someone tentatively put forth an answer, and then someone else restated the answer confidently; we know, we understand you.
And then, pleased with our question-answering abilities, general murmurs of conversation twittered back and forth across the room. And we were suddenly talking about two and to and too and your and you’re and their and there and they’re and from behind me, I heard her clear voice.
Too is actually one of my favorite words.
Her words caught me, and I hurried to write them on a blank spot in my notebook. My attention was quickly diverted back to the lecture as a new slide flipped across the screen; more bullet points, more lessons, more pens clicking softly across paper.
But I opened my notebook not an hour ago, and I was reminded of her words. And I smiled and my heart tugged happily once more.
Because there’s beauty there, so much beauty. Beauty in her words, in her observation, in her joy, beauty in her little feet bouncing ever so slightly up and down on the back of my seat. And there’s beauty in too; in the word itself.
Because too can never be alone. Too by nature of its very meaning must come along with something else. Too is you and I. Too is both together. Too is this, and that as well. Too is together and with and alongside and the both of us.
I think I like too, too.