"I never stopped loving you," the note says. "Please come back."
I stand beside the bulletin board, checking out the photocopied fliers. I'm supposed to meet my former professor, Goran, and chat with his class about autobiographical writing. Instead, I get lost on the fourth floor of the Ashe building (which hasn't changed much since my undergrad years. Same floor wax smells. Same medieval-looking portraits near the elevators). I trace my finger across the note, as if I could psychically read the vibes. Maybe figure out the rest of the story.
I'll never know the ending.
The note is scrawled on Euro-style graph paper. It's signed, "Heart: Jason." (or maybe "Jenson?") Why did somebody tack it up there...buried in the visual static of ads for Shakespeare conferences and "boost your test score!" postcards?
Goran shows up and walks me to his classroom. "This way, kid," he says, smirking.
I remember our first day of class, when he scribbled two circles on the board. Beside the large circle, he wrote, "The world." Beside the small circle, he wrote, "You."
His students sit around a conference table, neither smiling nor talking. They take a long look at me and I can read their thought balloons. "Who the hell is this?" I grit my teeth and tell them, "I'm not here to judge you."
They take turns reading essays about "their secret lives." One girl dreamed about standing on stage and singing, but she froze behind the mic. Another fought her way through rehab, where she lied about little things, like whether she dumped sugar or Splenda in her coffee.
I clap my hands when they finish reading. I'm still thinking about that note on the bulletin board.
Everybody has a secret life.
Not everybody has the guts to write about it.