Home > On A Tuesday(5)

On A Tuesday(5)
Author: Whitney G.

“I highly doubt it.” He laughed. “There’s a house party on Dawson Street tonight. You coming?”

“I’ll pass,” I said, hitting pause on the tape. “I don’t think I’m going to that many parties this year. Last year was good enough.”

“Yeah, I don’t know if junior year will ever be topped. Dawson Street parties are always the best, though. You could at least show up near the end and get a freshman to start your year off right.”

“What?” I looked at him.

“You heard me.”

“What is it with you and freshmen girls?”

“Please don’t make me answer that question.”

“Trust me, I won’t,” I said. “I honestly think I’m done with women this year, too.”

“Does that mean you’ll be pursuing guys?” He looked concerned. “I mean, no judgment from me at all if this is your way of finally coming out of the closet, but I would’ve never thought that you were—”

“Shut up, Kyle.” I tossed him my phone. “Read the last five messages I got this morning.”

He tapped my screen and his eyes widened. “Okay, look. These dumbass messages are all from unknown contacts. They’re being bold and rude because they know you don’t know who they are. Don’t worry about it.”

“This is the second time I’m going to have to change my number,” I said, clenching my jaw. “All over some bullshit.”

“You’re going to have to find a way to not let this get to you anymore. The summer is long over, and you were cleared of everything.”

“Then why are some people still acting like I wasn’t?”

“Who cares? That’s on them.” He returned my phone. “There’s no need to give up your social life for people who are going to talk shit anyway. Hell, if my name was Grayson Connors and every girl on this campus wanted me, I wouldn’t retreat into the shadows over something like that at all. I would pick the top four girls I wanted and keep them on a steady rotation.”

“Why does every topic turn into sex with you?”

“Because it’s my top priority. This type of prioritization is the exact reason why I’m an Economics major.”

“You’re a Communications major.”

“It’s the same thing. Less math and graphs, but it’s the same thing.”

I rolled my eyes at him and shut my locker. Kyle was the absolute last person I would take advice from these days. Still, he was the only person who remained on my side through the entire summer, and I’d learned the hard way that he was my only true friend.

“Okay, everybody! Listen up!” Our coach entered the locker room and blew his whistle, forcing every conversation to a complete stop. “I don’t have to tell you that what we’re trying to achieve this season is something that’s never been done before.” He moved to the center of the room, tapping his fingers against his clipboard. “That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but we’re not going to be passive or act entitled to the shit just because we’ve done it three times before.”

Our offensive coordinator stepped into the room and began passing out his personal critiques from this morning’s practice drills. When he handed me mine, I flipped it over expecting to see tips on how I could improve, but there were only three words: You were perfect.

“I need you all to be focused and I need you all to be sharp,” Coach continued. “I know a lot of you are seniors and you’re trying to enjoy the last of your so-called glory days before you graduate or pursue other things. I also know that some of you need to be reminded that certain activities don’t ever need to come before football, and that there’s a time and place for everything.” He stepped directly in front of Kyle and glared at him.

“Is there something you’re trying to imply right now, Coach?” Kyle smiled. “You can’t assume that I’ll always catch your not-so-subtle messages.”

“You’re lucky you’re so goddamn talented, son,” Coach stepped away from him and walked to the other side of the room.

“We need you all to look at our comments on your morning performances and take them very seriously,” Coach said. “For those of you who scored a four or less on the conditioning regimen, you can head out to the field now to see if you can impress me and get into the seven range. The rest of you, I’ll see you on the field in an hour!”

There were a few groans, but he ignored them, as usual.

“Can I talk to you for a minute, Connors?” He motioned for me to follow him into the hallway.

“Sure.”

He waited until he was sure no one was following us. “So, look. I know what happened this summer was painful and difficult, but I want you to know that I never, for one second—”

“Can we not talk about it?” I interrupted him. The sooner I could erase it from my memory, the better.

“Oh, thank fuck.” He let out a breath and crossed something off his clipboard. “Check on Grayson Connors’ emotional well-being and try to sound like a parent instead of a coach. Glad we’re all done with that.”

“Is that all you wanted with me, Coach?”

“Not so fast.” He shook his head. “I received an email from the registrar this morning. Something about you missing some core credits you need to graduate, I think. Or maybe it was about you having a low GPA.”

“That’s impossible,” I said. “I have all A’s.”

“Really? With what I’ve heard about your reputation, when do you find the time to study?”

I gave him a blank stare.

“I mean, I’m very impressed to hear that. Good for you, son.” He cleared his throat. “You’re excused from practice this afternoon so you can talk to your advisor. Go get that sorted ASAP, will you? And if you need any more emotional support from me about any lingering feelings you have from the summer—” He paused. Then he shrugged and returned to the locker room, not even bothering to finish that sentence.

Thankful that he’d dropped it, I grabbed my bag and left the practice facility, taking a shuttle back to campus. I’d known all along that my avoidance of Literature classes would eventually catch up to me, but I thought it could’ve waited until the spring semester instead of this one.

I walked into the Cathedral of Learning and took the elevator up to the Honors College, knocking on my advisor’s door.

“Come in,” a soft voice said. “The door’s open.”

“Hey.” I stepped inside and crossed my arms. The woman behind the desk was not my advisor. She was his secretary and ever since my freshman year, she’d made it more than clear that she hated me because she thought I was ‘taking up someone else’s deserving spot’ in the Honors College.

“Where’s Mr. Henderson?” I asked.

“Well, hello to you, too, Mr. Connors.” She pursed her lips. “Good to see you in person for a change.”

“Where’s Mr. Henderson?” I repeated. I could feel contempt rolling off her in waves and I didn’t have time for her bullshit today.

“He went down to the English Department to meet with someone.” She motioned for me to take a seat. “Is there anything I can help you with?”

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