She

She sat through lectures, wondering, calculating the loss of money if she dropped just one class. She couldn’t take it anymore – her mind raced with anxiety and destructive thoughts, ones that said, “You can’t,” and “You bit off more than you can chew.” Thoughts that begged her to end things while she was still (sort of) ahead. Thoughts that told her that her professors were disappointed. Thoughts that told her she was a joke. She cried. She prayed. She screamed. She cursed. She forgot to eat, forgot to sleep, forgot to pray. Her chest always felt shallow, her stomach always sick. But then one man looked her in the eyes, and she willed herself not to look away as he warned against a broken heart. She shifted uncomfortably in her chair as she heard kind words for the first time in a long time. She cleared her throat to break the prolonged silence, her lack of words that filled the air. Her heart beat in her ears, in her thumbs, in her throat. Then another man looked her in the eyes and saw only the eyes of Christ. She blushed as he quietly whispered, “You’re going to be an amazing teacher. My mother was a teacher, and she’s the best woman I know.” Her heart again beat more quickly than it ought to as she felt things that had always been far from her. She didn’t believe any of it, but she prayed a single phrase under her breath, “Thank you.”

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