Came back from a meeting with the Registrar’s office. Was out of breath jogging the 3 flights up to my office, per usual, but it’s getting better. Introduced myself to the student worker who was looking official in the ESL library. “Hey, are you an ESL student worker?”
“I’m not an ESL student, but I am working for ESL.”
“How long are you working for them?”
“For the next couple of weeks.”
“Cool. I’m Alaina. I’m the Study Abroad Advisor. Just thought I would introduce myself.”
“What’s your name?”
Peace out, Clifford, who has obviously never introduced himself to another human being before in his life. The alarm went off this morning, and I thought, ‘no.’ No, thanks, want to sleep, want to lie in my bed and listen to the curtain blow away from the wall and into my mattress. Want to ball up my baby blankets and smell their precious smell and squeeze them to my chest and close my eyes and remember my dreams from the night before. Want to sleep through the song that’s playing on the radio. Want to languidly make tea and scramble some eggs and have breakfast in my pjs on the balcony. Want to. I have nothing to complain about. I have a full-time job that I enjoy, and I am healthy, and I am mentally stable, and I have a home and a reliable car, and food in my fridge. Right? That’s enough. Those are the markers of stability. But I woke up feeling like, meh. Don’t talk to me. It’s passed with a reasonable intake of caffeine. What does my brain want from me?
The work is starting to pile up and I can see the hours of my day slip away as the job engulfs me. As I become that professional. I will be here for a while. I can see it now. The weeks will fly by and turn into months. The months will become a year, and then two, and then more. I will have more days of busting into my colleague’s office to watch Veggie Tales: Endangered Love (Barbara Manatee) before I head out to a meeting. I will have more days of over stuffing my lunchbox with a meal I’d rather not eat (lunch is my least favorite meal of the day). I will continue to have awkward interactions with the students. I will continue to be the only one in the group to get the pop cultural references of my colleagues around campus: “I’m going to Watergate it.” “What?” “You know, shred.” (really, Watergate, you didn’t get it?)
I wish you would say this to yourself: “I still think of you and all the shit you put me through, and I, I know you were wrong.”
So there’s that. There’s your line. I will work, and the space that grows between who I was then and who I’m becoming will crowd out the memory of you, unfortunately. You will recognize me when you see me next, but it will be from across the room, and you will take a moment to second guess that recognition.
All these different faces we present to the world, why? If you would stop and think about it, you would realize what you see is what you get. In some form.