Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal

It’s springtime in the small college town. Campus is verdant and alive.

I hate spring. Spring is when I get all my rejection letters.

The academic rejection letter grows differently from other flora.  It is planted in the fall, even as the frost starts to creep in.  It grows quickly through the winter, sustained by equal parts hope and angst.  It does not require any sunlight because it grows in the darkness.  It blooms suddenly and violently in the spring.  By the summer, it is completely dead, engulfed in a pillar of flames.

As I was walking home, one of my students emerged from the crowd of people.  She had been accepted to medical school.  My advice on her personal statement had been so helpful.  I felt a sense of pride and resentment.  Everyone was swimming across an ocean of time—except for me. I was treading water.

I felt so detached from everything that I forgot that I wasn’t opening the mailbox.  I saw a large envelope in the huge stack of mail.  It was for me.  I checked twice to make sure.  There was no address.  Maybe this was my big break.

“Dear Mr. Kirven,

On behalf of Honda, we’d like to inform you that the 10-year powertrain warranty on your 2002 CR-V is due to expire…”

In the moment I read that letter I died a hundred times.  But in the end, I was alive.


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