She was anything but relaxed though. At the age of 58 she was going back to college. Ridiculous. She was too old. Stella blamed Gemma. Gemma was the one that had encouraged her mother to complete her degree. Gemma herself was a recent college graduate. She had attended Wellesley College. The best education money, and Stella’s ex-husband—the plastic surgeon Phil—could buy. Gemma had studied comparative literature and at the end of her very expensive schooling, had moved to Jackson Hole to live with Tag, the unpromising, heavily tattooed and pierced artist. Gemma got a job as a cocktail waitress. Like Stella had wryly told her friend Karen, at least Gemma could speak with impeccable grammar when she took customers’ orders. That education wasn’t going to waste. Ha ha.
Perhaps Stella had set a bad example all those years ago, well before Gemma was born, when she’d dropped out of college to put Phil through medical school, Phil who two years ago had run off with his anesthesiologist. Maybe the reason Stella had finally caved and enrolled for classes at Southern Connecticut State was to teach Gemma the value of education.
Sooner than she would have liked, because the drive hadn’t settled her stomach enough, Stella pulled into the parking lot. She checked the map to make sure she knew where her class was located. Eventually she wanted to become a speech therapist but first she had to complete the last of the general ed. classes she hadn’t finished nearly forty years ago, the last time she was in college. Today she had to go to biology.
As Stella was following the stream of children—and that is what they were—to class, she felt old. These kids were younger than her own daughter. She felt a little better when she caught her reflection in a passing window. Petite and athletic, she still had the slim figure she’d had her whole life. Her hair, though helped along with dye, was blonde and recently cut in a stylish chin length style. Since the humidity had lessened a little, it even looked halfway decent today.
Stella found a seat near the back of the room. She pulled a notebook and sharpened pencil out of her leather messenger bag. Eyeing her fellow classmates, she realized she didn’t need to feel self-conscious. No one noticed her or was paying any attention to the older woman.
With a lurch she noticed the teacher. He was chatting with a student, his back to the room. It wasn’t him. It couldn’t be him. She checked her schedule for the name of the professor. Rothschild. That wasn’t a very common name. Her heart started pounding again as he walked to the front of the room. It absolutely was him. It was Calvin. She had no idea he was back in New Haven. Calvin had been her high school sweetheart, her first kiss. They had promised each other they’d marry someday but they had gone to different colleges. She’d met Phil and that had been that. He’d married someone else too. Chrissy or Christie or something like that.
He turned and faced the classroom and he still had the bluest eyes she’d ever seen. He still had all his hair, but it was graying at the temples. He did not have a wedding ring on his finger.
And he hadn’t noticed her yet.
Check back tomorrow to see how roll call goes!