I sat in the classroom, not knowing what to write. The only sounds were heavy breathing from the guy next to me and the scratch of pencil against paper. The blank sheet stared me in the face.
I stared back, as time dragged on. Another student walked in late, whispering an apology. Footsteps sounded in the hall, as others walked by the open door.
I stared out the open window that overlooked the courtyard. Birds sang. Students laughed, as they passed the building, no inspiration there.
I looked around at other students sitting at tables set up in a u-shape format, the blackboard, the professor’s laptop on the lectern at the front of the room. I turned and stared at the computers lining the wall behind me. At the beginning of class, the instructor said we could use them if we didn’t want to write the old-fashioned way. I stood up and made my way to one of the terminals.
Sitting down, I pushed a button, and the screen came to life with Facebook in all its glory. Without thinking, I typed my log-in information and went straight to my home newsfeed page. There, on my timeline, were his words. “Emma Sawyer, you’re nothing but a goody two-shoes. Go to Hell!”
Others gasped, and a few tittered. I turned to see projected on the screen above the blackboard my Facebook timeline with Jeremy’s ugly words. Other screens were lit up, probably displaying the same information. I opened my mouth but couldn’t say anything.
Someone was shaking me. “Emma, wake up.” It was my roommate Shelley. The bland classroom walls dissolved into the walls of my dorm room, decorated with my photos and Shelley’s rock star posters.
“Oh, what is it?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.
“It’s after nine. Didn’t you hear your alarm? Your creative writing class starts at ten. Oh, and Jeremy called.”
“Shit,” I said, sitting up and reaching for my cell. “You didn’t talk to him, did you?”
” “Of course not, silly, I just saw who it was on your caller ID. I’m glad you finally got rid of that bozo.”
“Yeah, he’s a real jerk. He’s here on a football scholarship so all he can think about are football, football, and football. He just wants to have fun, and he can’t understand that there are times when I need to study. Oh well….”
I picked up my phone and, with the push of a few buttons, blocked his calls and deleted him from my contacts. I then reached for my lap top.
“Emma, it’s after nine. You’re going to be late,” said Shelley, putting on her coat.
“I know, but if I don’t do this now, he’ll ruin my day.”
“And if you don’t eat breakfast, you’ll ruin your health, but that’s not my problem, is it?” said Shelley, sounding disgusted, as she slung her back pack over her shoulders. “I’m off to the cafeteria and then to my music therapy class. See you later.”
I waited for the computer to boot up, then went straight to Facebook where I un-friended Jeremy and blocked him from contacting me. For good measure, I deleted my Facebook account, figuring I could create another one later. I also blocked him from e-mailing me and removed his address.
I showered, dressed, and dashed to my class, grabbing a Hostess Twinkie and a can of Dr. Pepper on the way. I made it just in time. After roll call, the instructor, a woman who looked to be in her twenties said, “Okay, for the next fifteen minutes, I want you to write about being in the moment.”
The above story appears in the fall/winter issue of Magnets and Ladders at http://www.magnetsandladders.org . It was inspired by a memoir writing workshop I took last fall, held in a classroom similar to that in the story, with computers along the walls that students could use. The instructor, also a young woman in her twenties, gave us a similar prompt, to write about being in the moment.