I hadn’t heard from Ann for weeks. Was she blissfully involved with that Glen guy? Was she miserable? I didn’t know. And I couldn’t ask Ms. DeAngela, because she’d stopped coming to the eye.
At school, Mr. Haas confirmed it: I was going to pass chemistry. I had crammed and gotten my barely passing grades on the last few tests, a series of excruciating, tense things. I had proven myself, risen in the ranks from “failing” to simply “poor.” I was getting my “D” and elated. I could stay in WHY, keep my credits, and graduate with the rest of my class.
The following week I heard from Hampshire College. They regretted to inform me they were passing on my application. Forget the radio and the clubs. It was too little, too late. So, maybe I wouldn’t go to school at all. Maybe I’d take a year off. Work during the day. Do stand-up at night. Get an apartment with Mike. Maybe he could get me a job at UC’s bowling alley. In secret, I had actually prepared an application to UC but was saving it for that moment when I’d have absolutely no other options. But I figured why jinx myself by actually sending it in?
Everything I had done up to now was focused on a single goal: to escape. Escape Cincinnati. Escape Wyoming, my family. Prove I could go somewhere else and live and survive and start over. And when I started over – wherever it was – I would get it right this time. I’d have a good attitude and be a good student and athletic and be an enthusiastic, all-hands-on-deck, not-so-obnoxious joiner right from the get go. I would go to New York or Boston and no one would know me. And I would work hard and get A’s right off the bat. And no one would ever, ever know what a loser I had been in this previous life.
But I couldn’t do it here. There was too much history, too many people who knew me. And maybe it still wouldn’t work out. Maybe I’d still be a poor student, and end up homeless, no matter where I went. I just wanted a chance to try.