1355 words (5 minute read)

Day 5

I leave the building and join the fringes of a group of smokers. Taking out a pack of cigarettes, I shake one out and light it. I revel in the feel of the smoke going into my lungs. Everything feels right with the world right now.

I’ve been asked why I started smoking. None of my family does. None of my friends do. It’s something that only belongs to me. I tell them I don’t know, but that isn’t the truth. The reason I started smoking was because it was a socially acceptable way to slowly kill yourself. Taking up smoking made perfect sense. Of course, life was different now. I had good friends and now a job. Life was looking up, but that never changes my desire to continue smoking.

I get a few odd looks from the group of smokers. I duck my head a little. I’ve been told I don’t look like a smoker. Which doesn’t make sense to me. What does a smoker even look like. Is there a special hairdo or special clothing that announces to people we smoke? I don’t understand and probably never will.

I finish my cigarette, carefully put it out and throw it in the trash. My parents had taught me at a young age to never litter. I guess some training never leaves you.

I stroll through the area and take in the blue sky with the white clouds racing overhead. The grass has turned green and people are lying all over with books scattered around them, taking the time to study in the warm, spring air. The trees tower above and cast their inviting shadows on the ground. In this moment, I remember why I begged to go to this school even though my parents suggested I go to one closer to home. I remember walking this campus with my parents years ago. The aged oaks lining the drive, the wide grassy expanses that invited one to relax or play. The amazing buildings towering above, none of them the same. I knew, at that moment, I was going to attend CSU no matter what it took. And here I am.

I smile and continue back to my dorm. I needed to access my account and print up a class schedule so I could get my work schedule. Of course, I rarely attended my classes, but that’s something Debbie didn’t need to know, right?

The next day, I walk in and hand her the schedule. She glances at it and sets it on her desk.

“Do you have free time right now? I can go over exactly what you’ll be doing.”

“Sure. Now is good.” And I’m not even lying. I was clear for the rest of the day.

I follow her across the hall to the bustling computer lab. There were several rows of computers in one room and a smaller room off to the side with fewer computers, but they looked different. I couldn’t put my finger on why before Debbie took me to the counter along a wall.

“Here’s where you’ll sit most of the time. It’s simple enough, really. When they come in, you take their ID and give them a slip. When they leave, they return the slips and reclaim their IDs. When the printers run out of ink, you will be in charge of getting out new cartridges and installing them.” She walks me through how to open up the color laser and where the toner cartridges are stored. “If someone has a computer problem, then you go over and help them. Easy, right?”

I nod. This would be a great job.

She takes me to the smaller room. “These computers are the only ones that run AutoCAD. They also have this printer here. But don’t worry if any of these break down. Tim takes care of the computers here.” With that, we leave the darkened room.

We go back into the hall and stand outside of her office.

“So, can you start tomorrow? I’m shorthanded right now. I’m sure you saw there was only one person behind the desk. I like to keep two people there at all times.”

I think about my schedule for a moment. I have to at least pretend I go to my classes. Heck, I might actually go to a few of them for once.

“I have class until two thirty, but I’m free after that.”

“Good. I’ll see you here by three then. I’ll get you added to the schedule by then as well.”

“Thank you, Debbie. I will see you tomorrow.” I start to stroll out of the building, pausing to admire the tall trees and plant growing in the atrium before doing so. This was the only building on campus that had what was practically a forest in the middle. It makes sense though, it was the Natural Sciences building after all.

* * * * *

By this time, I decide not all guys suck. I suppose it has something to do with the fact all of my good friends are male. They’re great friends, but I can’t say I have a romantic interest in them. But other guys around campus are all fair game. The injury dealt me by Zane would never go away. I know that. But I can’t let it hold me back forever. With that thought in mind, I grab out my favorite green dress from the closet and get dressed for the day. I carefully do my makeup and hair, grab my books and head out the door.

I walk down the hall at the student center and I’m stopped by a classmate.

“Hey, Georgia! You look nice today. Where are you headed?”

“To class. What are you up to,” I ask with a smile on my face. I can’t remember his name, but he’s decent looking.

“Oh, just headed to the bookstore. Hey. I’ve been meaning to ask you. What’s your major? I bet it’s English Lit.”

That has to be the lamest question ever. The never-ending ‘what’s your major’ line. Oh, well. When I’m dressed like this, it’s my favorite question.

“My major is computer science.” I watch as his eyes get big and his mouth drops open slightly. “Well, I’d better be getting to class,” I say with a grin and walk around him.

As the day goes on, I really wish I had worn my usual t-shirt and jeans. I forgot I was going to work after my last class. I decide to duck out early and go back to my room and change. It’s one of those classes held in a large lecture hall. I barely made a ripple when I left. I will never understand how a professor can keep track of 300 students.

I dash back to the Natural Sciences building and begin my first day of work. It was easy, just like I thought it would be. The best thing ever was the high speed internet. No more waiting for dial-up and hoping the line wouldn’t be busy. Here, the internet was available any time I wanted to access it. I love this job.

I sit behind the desk, help people as they come up and spend a lot of time in online chat rooms.