on how it came to be that I should be so far away from a once-lived life

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Maybe it’s that fall is here. Maybe it’s the rain or the changing colors of the leaves or my renewed passion for sweater wearing. Or maybe it’s the way the coffee tastes. Or maybe it’s that I’m drinking coffee in the company of strangers–most of whom seem to be studying–on a Saturday night.

Whatever it is, I’m thinking of grad school. More specifically, I’m thinking of the people I met and knew and hated and loved in grad school. I don’t talk with a single one of the people I knew two years ago in that town we all hated. In fact, I think it’s been at least three months (four? five?) since I last spoke with my friend John Paul–a very sweet guy who’s become the only person from grad school I ever communicate with. He sent me one of his stories several months ago and I promised to read it and respond to it. But I never did. I feel bad about that. The story’s still in the back seat of my car. Read once and put down somewhere in the midst of a miserable summer.

It’s been over a year since I last spoke with my friend ‘Stine. We had one of those unspoken fallen-outs. At least, I think that’s what happened. Maybe I stepped on her toes one time too many. Maybe she just had to downsize her social circle. Who knows. One of life’s many mysteries, I suppose. I wonder if her cat would remember me.

It’s been over a year since I last spoke with my friend Lisa. I left her messages that she never returned. I sent her email that she never responded to. I hope she didn’t get sucked in to the Willamate Valley, never to resurface. I hope she’s still got those two dogs–they were really nice dogs.

It’s been almost a year since I last spoke to my friend Rowan. He was pretty sick last time we talked. I hope he’s doing better. I hope he’s not upset that I never called him back after my cell phone battery died. I hope he is happy in Utah or has gotten out of there and is happy elsewhere.

It’s been over a year since I spoke with anyone else from OSU. I really don’t care about anyone else. I found a copy of one of my thesis advisor’s novels in the free section of the library booksale last weekend. I snagged it. I hope he’s working more on teaching now. He’s pretty good at it when he takes the time to do it.

It’s been only a few hours since I talked to my friend Kaijsa, who’s applying for a job at OSU. I hope she gets it. I also hope that Corvallis (and all the things that happen to her while she’s there) is better to her than it was to me.

It’s been just a few minutes since I saw someone who looked like someone I used to teach at OSU. I hope my students have all been able to use something they gained from the classes they took with me.

I’ve had a headache for a couple hours now. I used to have headaches a lot in grad school. Maybe that’s why I’m thinking of it tonight.


Author: Kim Sharp

more later

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