A Selfish Break-Up

Earth shattering moments are the worst.

For some people their moment is being declined a job opportunity, and some people it is not getting into their first choice college, and other people it’s having a bad hair day, or not having enough money to get an extra shot of espresso at the coffee shop. As for me, it’s finding out that my boyfriend is going to break up with me before he’s actually done the breaking up part.

A girl heard from another girl who heard it from her boyfriend who happens to be my brother’s supervisor at the factory. As soon as my brother told me I called Matthew. I interrupted his movie and he was very unforgiving. I never got the chance to ask him if it was true because as soon as he started yelling at me for being “inconsiderate” I spit out that I didn’t think things were working anymore. Once I said we should stop seeing each other he stopped complaining. In fact, he stopped doing a lot of things for a few minutes. Finally he said exactly what any lame boyfriend would say when being dumped…

“Cool.” Cool? Really? He was such a dick about it, acting as if he couldn’t care less. The nonchalance has made me supremely mad. I think I am somewhere between angry and depressed. I have been skipping English class for two weeks because I’m too afraid to run into Matt. Part of me really wants to ask him why he was so careless on the matter. The other part of me wants to smack him for being a terrible person.

More than that, though, I want to at least do my work for English. I have been turning in all of my assignments after hours. Even if I get partial credit on all of the remaining assignments I can still pass the class with an acceptable grade. I’m going to be petty but I’m not going to compromise my class and money invested in my education.

As for right now – right now I’m standing in line in the cafeteria, waiting for my roommate to come back with the notes so that I can copy them for the test next week. Generally speaking, the book review tests are all relevant to actual events taking place within the book and identifying technical aspects in the writing. Such a trait in a teacher is admirable – because why should your students be tested on your opinion of the book? All of that being mentally tucked away, I will need lecture notes on things discussed only in class.

Unfortunately, Tiffany – being the beach babe that she is – says that she was stopped for an impromptu coffee date with a boy she’s be eyeballing. It’s a different one every week so I have no idea whom it might be and I don’t care. All of that is really her business. Meanwhile, I just plan on getting my dinner early and surf the web for new and interesting facts about British celebrities and televisions shows that I haven’t already uncovered.

Today I settle on pizza. Lots of pizza and lots of energy drink. All I manage to do is fumble around with all of my belongings during my trek to the center table. I prefer sitting here now since it is never used because it’s too close to the staff… also because I know nobody is going to ask me about the break up…. Or my downward spiral since then… or my embarrassing body odor because sometimes going to the shower requires energy that I would rather expend by walking to the gas station up the street for more chocolate ice cream.

Tiffany has been trying to get me out the break up blues but I sometimes like it here on the lonely road. Lately I am catching up on television shows. I am able to keep up with my long distance friends on social media much better. My selfie game is definitely stronger than it was before when I was with Matt the big brat who once sat on my mother’s cat and nearly made it splat because he’s an ass hat.

“Nice poetry.” There are some voices that you just don’t recognize. It doesn’t matter how often you hear them, the noise is still foreign in your ears. I think the only thing more startling is the fact that I didn’t even know I was saying anything out loud. Apparently I was bashing Matt verbally instead of mentally… I have to wonder now if I’ve been doing that this entire time.

“Professor Carter, I didn’t see you there. My apologies for the language.” Saying sorry is something I’ve grown accustom to these days. Sorry for crying all night, sorry for deleting your recording but I couldn’t miss that rerun of Doctor Who. I’m so sorry that I ate your gelato. I’m sorry that I slept through the entire party. I’m sorry that I forgot to buy groceries again this week.

“You should apologize for skipping my class.” Professor Carter takes a seat with a tray looking very much like my own. Instead of a side of French fries she’s opted for steamed veggies, and instead of three slices of pizza she’s got a single serving of meatloaf. She opens her Snapple and then continues in a very casual tone, “If it makes you feel any better, Matt is failing my class.”

It does make me feel better but I’m not going to tell her that. It would make me look bitter. I’m not bitter.

Okay, I’m bitter but not that bitter.

“The test next week wouldn’t happen to be available online would it?” Shoving food into my mouth helps keep me quiet and from going into my terrible, awful break up story. That damn phone call has taken up so much space in my brain that I am pretty sure I’ve forgotten all of my other stories.

“I am not making it available online so that you’ll stop skipping my class.” Professor Carter remarks plainly while she cuts a small piece of her meatloaf. Clad in a suit with her hair knotted in a perfect blonde bun to the side of her head, this woman is simply the personification of elegance. Even her table etiquette is impeccable. Admittedly, I do have to judge her slightly for dunking her meatloaf into a glob of ketchup.

After carefully considering what she’s told me, “What makes you so sure that I will show up?” Why would it even matter if I don’t come in the classroom? This is just one test and I’m still passing. In fact, my grade is still very comfortable. I could easily skip this test and only lose a half a grade point. Watching and waiting I realize that Professor Carter isn’t interested in answering right away; she just keeps eating and enjoying her food. Occasionally she inserts a comment about the cook on the veggies or how much she loves ketchup. I don’t believe her until she tells me that she sometimes puts ketchup in her tacos instead of salsa because she prefers the taste. Silently I continue judging her. Not in a bad way, though, because how badass is it that this teacher who won’t remember me in five years is telling me about her ketchup obsession? That’s really awesome.

“Your grade is more important than your break up. That’s why I’ve been giving you full credit on all of your assignments. You care. You just don’t realize how much yet.” Maybe she is right.

Maybe I do care about myself much more than I ever cared about my relationship with Matt. Maybe I care about how I’m perceived more than I care about why people see me in a certain way. This mediocre life I lead is just that: mediocre, but I don’t want people to look at me and see mediocre.

That’s why I called Matt and cut him loose before he had a chance to make me look weak. Only now I’ve made myself look weak and it’s my own fault; “Is Matt really failing?”

Professor Carter emits a laughter that actually turns heads in the cafeteria. Her laugh is obnoxious and kind of scary. It is the opposite of everything she appears to be and there is something oddly satisfying about it. I find myself giggling along with her as she confirms; “He plagiarized his midterm paper.”

Bitter as it is to be amused by this I refuse to not laugh even harder.


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