Days as a Freshman: 69
“We’ve got a few minutes before class is over, if anyone has any questions about anything…” Professor Mullen looked around the room, taking her glasses off her face and leaning against the board.
English 205 was one of the harder Freshman English classes, but word of mouth had made it one of the most popular, especially with guys. Professor Mullen was around 35, tall, blond, and aggressively smart. She had a good sense of humor but wasn’t afraid to put people in her place, and most guys had a thing for being “reprimanded by Ms. Mullen”.
“What about the soccer scandal?” A girl in the front of the class raised her hand, a bunch of pink bracelets clanking together on her arm. “Don’t you think the school should be doing more to find out what really happened?”
People who had been dozing during the lecture suddenly perked up, and my notebook doodling grinded to a halt. Next to me, Rebecca stiffened, and I could feel her eyes slide over to my face.
“I haven’t heard much about the whole thing,” Professor Mullen said, scanning the room for members of the team. Luckily or unluckily, none were present.
“Something happened at that stupid house,” the girl in the front continued, her voice rising and her wooden bracelets continuing to clank together, “but all the school has done is put the guys on probation. Probation.”
“What the hell is your problem?” From the back of the room, a guy’s voice hurled itself toward the girl with the pink bracelets. “You don’t know what happened. Were you even there? I’ve got some friends in that house. People who weren’t even there are getting involved and that’s why the whole thing is blowing up.”
Pushing herself from the board, Professor Mullen walked closer to the rows of desks. “Is there any proof of wrong doing?”
“If you call a girl running to Public Safety at six in the morning after waking up in the wrong bed proof, then yeah.” The girl with the pink bracelets turned around in her seat and glared at the back of the room. “Just because you’ve got some friends on the team doesn’t mean shit didn’t happen.”
“Alright.” Sensing something bigger than a simple discussion, Professor Mullen raised her hands. “It’s a minute till two. It doesn’t seem like this is sort of thing that will be solved in sixty seconds. We can discuss it after class if anyone really wants to stay.”
Before she was even finished talking, kids were out the door, pushing into the already loud hallway. I put my notebook into my bag slowly, watching as the class emptied of all but Professor Mullen, the girl with the pink bracelets, Rebecca, and myself.
“Hey, I’m heading to lunch. You coming?”
Rebecca stood up, her face showing a concern she was obviously trying to hide. After my uncomfortable tea-date-that-wasn’t, I had stumbled into our room and found Rebecca staring into the glow of her computer screen, doing her best to type a paper in the complete dark (Stacey went to sleep precisely at nine during the week and needed absolutely no lights! after she hopped into bed). Seeing a friendly face after one of the most embarrassing events of my early college career caused a rush of emotion I wasn’t ready for, and I ended up sitting on the floor underneath Rebecca’s computer and tearfully explaining the whole café debacle.
“Yeah, I’ll meet you there.” I smiled up at her, doing my best to prove that I wasn’t going to fall apart every time “soccer” and “boys” were mentioned in the same sentence. “Just sit by the third window. Where we usually sit.”
“Got it.” Smiling back, Rachel walked towards the door, looking over at the girl with the pink bracelets, who had yet to move from her seat, before joining the throngs of people in the hall.
Gathering my books, I stood up, knowing full well I was about to get way too involved in something that was none of my business. But something about the pink bracelet girl’s emotion had stirred my own feelings connected to the situation, and I needed answers.
I needed something.