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Recently I attended a writing retreat with eighteen students and five members of the English faculty. While we were there, we wrote after given a prompt. This particular one was parallel structure in a segmented essay. The first place to come to my mind was the Writing Center.

Here goes:

I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I knew from Jacob, the smart kid in my physics class, that it was somewhere on the second floor of the library. I made a couple passes of the bathrooms, walked through the skywalk twice, and weaved between the rows of the books. Finally, I arrived.

Two people were sitting behind the desk under the sign that hung with two chains from the ceiling that said, “The Writing Center.” Tentatively, I walked up to the desk and asked to see Sister Morgan. The tall girl with the dark brown hair and matching eyes told me she wasn’t available. The shorter girl with matching hair informed me that most likely they weren’t hiring. I left, but Jacob told me to keep going back until I got a job, so I did.

* * *

It became a natural path. Seven semesters of walking through the doors facing the Spori, passing through the useless book stealing detectors, up the right stair case with the painting of an old street in colonized Utah, a quick stop at the drinking fountain next to the small tree, and then to the back room to find my black vest and name tag on the blue, not red, lanyard.

I stuck a blue, newly sharpened pencil behind my ear and flopped onto a stiff chair with a book I pretended to read to look busy. I did a quick glance to the back row of offices to check if Sister Morgan’s door was open or closed. Most often she was still unavailable. Now I knew the names of the two girls: Miriam and Kaitlin, my friends.

* * *

I don’t work there anymore, but out of habit I still follow the rutted path to the Writing Center. I only know a few of the battalion of assistants now, but I still stop by for a quick hello and chat with a new different person sitting at the desk each time.

Generally, I check Sister Morgan’s office first. If it is closed, I may just keep walking. If it is open, I slide through the door and sit down in a chair. Sometimes she vents; sometimes I do. Most often we just talk. It is refreshing to listen, to be listened to, to communicate.

1 comment:

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