It's beyond strange to think that if I had just managed to stick it out, I would now be finishing up my first year of teaching. The summer would be unrolling before me just like it did when I was a child--seemingly limitless and full of possibility. I would be going to the pool and to yoga and buying plane tickets to visit old friends. I would drink iced tea and live on pasta salad and fruit--peaches and cherries and melon, cold from the fridge. I would write blog posts and read books, and no one could ever call me lazy, because I would have earned it. But I'm not doing any of that, and my newly purchased Nook languishes on the table where it's been for the last two weeks--still in its box.
Instead I am a week and a half away from starting my new job, the job I thought I might never get. I thought it might be my punishment, to be doomed forever to this job I took at a desperate time and for myriad reasons have hated ever since. But the worst abuse I took there was still nothing compared to that of eighty urban teenagers, and so I stayed for eight and a half months--almost a school year, but not quite--and am just now finding my way out.
And so it's on to the next one--not necessarily bigger or better but newer and at least different (until inevitably the newness wears off and it turns out it's just more of the same). Still, it's strange to think about parallel lives, and when I'm sitting in my new/old desk chair in a room with no windows, I'll know there is another Rachel in a hammock somewhere, staring up at the confetti of sky through the trees, an unread book fanned out on her stomach, smiling.