“Do you think you could hug me?” Angie heard herself thinking. She thought to herself that all she needs to do to end her misery would be to pick up the phone, dial his number and call him. She would tell him that she missed him. She would try to seem happy and joyous when telling him about her adventures. She would even try to tell him what happened with her when she went to pick up 6 papers from 3 different universities. She would tell him the good parts, and forget about the sad parts.
Would she mention the traffic or the crazy drivers? The angry police officer who screamed at her to keep going even though the red light had been shining for a while? Would she mention how bad she felt when that man screamed? Would she ever mention that such behavior was all she had ever known in her childhood and part of her adulthood? Would any of that really matter? Would she mention all the memories she had to recall when walking into each university and seeing familiar but forgotten faces? Would she mention that time was only visible on some faces but invisible on other faces? Would she mention the smiling protection officer who gave her one of those smiles? Would she mention the old bakery with its old owner who used to make the most delicious sandwiches ever? Would she mention the new highways that replaced the small streets? Would she mention the new buildings that ate all the green scenery? Would she mention the buildings in each university that looked almost the same but with more misery and more emptiness? Would she ever wonder how on earth she spent years in each university in such desolated places around such people? Would she mention how hard it was to get her degrees in English? Would she mention that one particular university made her life miserable by telling her first that yes, she could have her degree in English only to realize 12 days later that her degree was translated to French? Would she mention that when she asked the students’ section if she could have a short description of her courses in any language, she was directed to the concerned department? Would she ever mention that the concerned department promised to get back to her but couldn’t reach her? Would she ever tell anyone that she had to go from the department to the students’ section back and forth several times, only to end up being told that since she graduated a few years back and that since the curriculum had changed since then, the students’ section didn’t have what she needed and the department didn’t have it either? Would she ever tell anyone that she had never felt so lost in her entire life? Would she mention the professor who was on a member on her thesis defense committee and who asked her what happened with her studies? Would she mention the other professor with whom she took a few courses a decade ago and who asked her what she plans to do with her studies? Would she mention the narrow minded professor who thinks that since a diversity of studies is a waste of time and energy? Would she mention that this same professor would allow his own kids to pursue their academic careers in different fields but would limit his students to one narrow tiny field? Would she mention that this same professor doesn’t perceive that each person is unique, each life is unique and each learning experience is also unique? Would she mention that some narrow minded people think that a break during studies isn’t allowed or even perceived? Would she ever tell anyone that she doesn’t give a damn what others think of her studies or of their preconceived ideas? Would she mention that both professors wanted her to pursue a PhD in Archaeology but they couldn’t perceive that her dreams lie elsewhere?
Come to think of these last two questions, she knew deep down that she couldn’t mention the PhD in Archaeology to him. He had been urging her for the last three years to register for the PhD and to pursue it, but no matter how hard she tried to explain to him or to anybody else, that she couldn’t and didn’t want to have anything to do with Archaeology anymore, she knew that he couldn’t understand. God knows how much she tried for years and years to work on her master’s degree in Archaeology, only to get limited―if not any at all―feedback from the people surrounding her. A few years ago, she worked with archaeologists in a renowned university. But since she had made the “faux pas” of applying to that department as a secretary and therefore performing administrative related duties, and since she couldn’t get along with one prominent archaeologist who happened to be her immediate supervisor and head of that department, she was left to find her own way through the maze of her research and to end up with many delays, many hurdles and one major burnout. She had sworn to herself the day she finished her defense that she was done―and for good―with Archaeology.