I’m driving to campus on a Saturday for work, mentally scoffing at the people who think online instructors have it easy. Idiots, I think. They don’t even know. But I’m in a happy frame of mind because I love what I do for a living, so this is more like fun anyway.
My happy frame widens to allow an unhappy thought in: it came to me yesterday that two men have told me this year that they didn’t want to see me anymore because I envisioned a future with them. They didn’t actually say, “I don’t want to see you anymore,” but I got it. They did actually say, “because you envision a future with me,” when I asked. Their responses gave me the chills each time, making the hair on my arms stand up, because they were so right.
How did they know that in my mind, we were already retired and living in Northern Arizona? How did they know I had already planned a Mediterranean cruise with hospice care available for our fiftieth wedding anniversary? They were such opposite extremes too, like cowboys and Indians.
Ever since yesterday, I’ve been dwelling on how these two men had figured me out, and suddenly it comes to me that it doesn’t matter. I’m sure I said and did things that came from that place of acute fondness, very close to love in the spectrum, but what can I say: I want to marry everything. I see everything in my future.
I pull into my school’s nearly empty parking lot and park. I turn off the engine and sit. My gaze fixes on a cement curb with “employees only” painted on it in yellow; this quiets my rush of thoughts. I know very well that it’s not been right of me to hold these little grudges. I think they call it being butt hurt these days. I know it is. I have been butt hurt that these men didn’t envision a future with me. My bad. I wanted to start my own church once too, but nobody would join. I think I was ten.
I give my butt-hurtedness up to my higher power as I continue to stare at the yellow “employees only” sign: Here ya go, HP—put this wherever you put all my other garbage. I’m sorry. I’ll try to loosen up. Talk to you later.
But now a light bulb is on: I don’t have to envision a future with those men, either. And that would be okay. My brow furrows, as much as it can. Is this about human touch? That all people need to be touched…including me? Even if it’s more about pleasures of the flesh for the other person?
Could it be more about pleasures of the flesh for me?
My gaze at the yellow employee sign breaks naturally, and I look elsewhere through my windshield. It’s time to go inside and get to work. My heart does a little flip-flop as if I’m falling in love with my job again, like my job can go on a cruise, or retire with me in northern Arizona.
I’m giving up a good part of Saturday for this, and I’ll have no regrets.