School and Secrets

I have a bit of a confession to make. I grew up with two English professors for parents, and I have never, ever, ever taken a college-level English class. I AP’d out of the requirements and whenever possible, I avoided every single English lit class and substituted it for something else. I majored in Chemistry, which is extra hilarious because I hate chemistry.

Except for some fevered dreams where I wake up trying to remember the structure of a long chain fatty acid, I haven’t even thought about chemistry since I graduated college. I pretty much only majored in it to spite my parents and to be as much unlike them as I could possibly be.

Do you know what I would really like to study? English. *deep, embarrassed sigh* IT’S IN MY BLOOD. I’ve been thinking about going back to school as a non-matriculated student and taking some introductory level English classes. That would be awesome, discussing As I Lay Dying with a bunch of dewy-faced, thinner-than-me college freshmen. Yeah, awesome.

I told Sarah and Michael and Molly what I was thinking about doing, and you would think I was telling them I wanted to devote my life to works of charity. They were all, “Good for you, Aust3n! That’s so amazing! Go for it!” and on and on. Then they asked if I was going to quit my job, which: no. I can’t. I have bills, and also, more bills. I like to eat, and to be warm. This will be a totally part-time, piecemeal thing if I do it.

I’m not sure I’m going to do it, though.

I told all of this to Ian this morning. I saw him at the loading dock. OK, well, that’s not completely true. He texted me and asked me to meet him so we could hang out for a few minutes while he was on a break. And I did. He, just like Molly and Sarah and Michael, said it was a great idea. He said he was thinking about getting a Master’s in teaching. He thinks he might want to be a music teacher. Then we could hang out on campus or something.

I got unduly excited about this prospect, and we were yammering on, when I noticed the time, and said I had to run upstairs, because I had a meeting with some other sales associates and Boss. I really didn’t want to leave. He said maybe we could hang out again later, but when I came back into the office reaking of Ian’s cigarette smoke, Maddy, the temp receptionist, gave me the evil eye. Ian hasn’t once mentioned he has a girlfriend, and that Maddy is her. And plus, it’s not like I’m dating Ian. Still, when I saw her, I slunk past and ignored her and tried to wash away the guilty feeling in my gut. Why hasn’t Ian mentioned her? I’m going to have to ask him when I see him again. Maybe.

But I didn’t have that much time to think about it, because the second my butt hit the chair in the conference room, Boss said to me, “I want to tell you something before the others get in.”

“Oh?”

“I broke up with Dominique. I found out she was cheating on me.”

“OH,” I said back. Then I stared at him and he stared at me, and then he finally looked away and said, “I just wanted to tell you, since we’re friends. I didn’t want you to hear it from anyone else. But no one else in the office knows. Can you keep it to yourself?”

I only had time to nod before everyone else streamed in through the conference room doors and the meeting began. I don’t know that I heard a single word of the projections or earnings or whatever the heck it was we were discussing. I sat quiet the entire meeting, and then I stumbled out of my office and immediately texted Ian, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME BOSS AND DOM BROKE UP?”

And he texted back, “Who cares about them?”

I didn’t text him back because what would I say? Oh, I don’t know. Me? Yeah, I care. A lot.

I’m sure that would go over really well. Almost as well as me telling Boss that I kept his secret for five whole seconds before asking his brother about it. Or that I knew before he did about Dominique. Yeah, that would go over super well.

I think I definitely need to go back to school, but this time maybe I could earn a degree in integrity.

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