I’ve walked this campus numerous times. I remember my first kiss under the tree by Pollock dorms and falling on the ice during winter near the chem lab. I remember feeling scared and embarrassed about being just myself while sitting in the cafeteria studying. I had friends and enemies in all corners of this campus that I have since walked away from the majority of. I have learned to build self-confidence and decorum along with my extensive skills in my field of studies, so why after being gone so long do I still feel like the scared women of my early twenties?
With the wind behind me, my earbuds in and a pile of papers weighing my backpack down, it’s like nothing has changed. I have about 30 minutes before my first class and I’m starving. Mid-day classes are the worst, students are hungry from either waking up late and skipping breakfast or ending their day of early morning classes in which they are holding out until after to gorge themselves on something sustainable. I pulled the doors open with all my might when I see her standing by a group of women I had learned to despise. Her eyes are piercing daggers into me, maybe she’s a graduate student or dropping her kid off? I think as I hold her glare while walking deeper into the cafeteria. Giving a small smile & nod in her direction I break eye contact, despite feeling her brown eyes burn holes into the back of my head as I walk by.
I quickly order a chick wrap, fries, and a milkshake, because my taste in food has not changed in the last twenty years. I take a fry out and shove it in my mouth, the warm, salty delight fills my mouth and satisfaction in one bite as I make my way towards the doors. That’s when I feel my ear bugs being yanked from my ears and the sweet sounds of OneRepublic no longer giving me the courage to maintain my composure on the first day. Looking up I see the brown eyes right in front of me.
“What the hell are you doing here?” She screeches as the rest of the cafeteria glances to see the commotion. Before I can even answer her the words come flying at me light verbal slaps to my face.
“You are always following me. My career in science and now you are here, back at this school. I’ve spent twenty years trying to get away from you. From the comment, you made online, to the demeaning hateful facebook message you sent me and then you apologized. Oh but no worries, you can’t have a career without someone else giving you direction, so let me guess you are in the same degree program as I am, aren’t you? What’s your first class? Maybe I can tell the professor ahead of time about your sneaky ways. You are a nobody and you don’t deserve to be here.”
Blinking at the tongue lashing I just received in front of half the school population I gently say “It’s nice to see you too.” Before replacing my earbuds back into position to avoid the laughter about to ensue as I walk away. Quickening my pace, I exit the cafeteria and make my way up the quad to reach the building of my first class.
Thankfully the room is empty, so I slip in the back and settle into a desk where I can eat my lunch peacefully before the class begins. Pulling out my notepad from my bag, I read my notes that I’ve made in preparation from the textbook. I want to be prepared and do the best I can possibly do, even on the first day of school. As the minutes’ tick by individuals start to file into the classroom one at a time. I take my notes and toss them back into my bag and scarf down what is left of my lunch. Just as I get up to throw away my trash those piercing brown eyes turn the corner and enter the room.
I think I’m going to be sick. My stomach starts turning and I’m not sure if the milkshake was a good idea anymore.
Taking my seat again I watch her face change from fierce to rage to anger and determination as she walks back towards where I am sitting. My heart starts pounding, I’m not sure if standing up naked would be worse than this nightmare case. Taking a breath as she settles into a seat a few rows away, I begin to hear the commotion from the class wondering where the professor was.
The TA, stands up, introducing herself. “Good Afternoon I’m Ashlyn and will be your TA this semester. This is Business Communication level 650, please check to see if you are in the right course while we wait for the professor.”
I glance around, nod at Ashlyn and wait patiently for the class to begin. The commotion of the students grows increasing, Ashlyn’s face grows a smile of delight, my concept of interactions begins to start working. So I decide to stand up and start.
Walking to the front of the room with my bag in hand, brown eyes piercing my head with the slightest laugh to follow.
“Good afternoon students I’m Professor Rohr,” I state as I toss my backpack onto the table and turn to face the sea of students. “Some of you might know me by my author name, or maiden name of Megan Lane, but here you will know me as Professor Rohr.”
As I glared into the rows of students, the piercing brown eyes became black burdens of coal. She sunk into her seat as far as she could go. I let out a small smile, knowing I had proven her wrong, unsure if I would hold it against her for the rest of the semester to come.