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  • 7:05 a.m.

    Clutching my coffee in my left hand, I cram my right into my pocket and tuck my chin into my chest as the morning greets me with droplets of rain. “That’s fine,” I think to myself just as my shoe, losing what little grip of the pavement it had, sends me barreling into the side of my car. My body crumbles to the ground, and, like my dampened spirits, I find myself soaking wet at the bottom of a puddle in the middle of a QuikTrip parking lot. I don’t know what’s more impressive: the trajectory of my coffee cup as it flew out of my hand or its ability to cover three separate windows of my car with what was my vanilla latte.

    That’s fine.

    8:20 a.m.

    “Hey Mrs. J, I’ve been sitting in traffic for nearly an hour and a half. Any way you could print off those handouts for me?” I frantically text her. Texting while having not moved in approximately 15 minutes isn't considered texting and driving, right?

    “Call me.”

    Oh, God. That ranks up there with "we need to talk." Taking a deep breath, I hit the call button.

    “Good morning, The Lora! Are you excited for your first day taking over?” Her calm yet oddly upbeat tone suggests I could do anything short of setting the building on fire, and it would be praise worthy. Okay, so she isn’t upset I couldn’t get there early to prepare.

    “Yeah, I’m really excited,” I lie, unsure if it’s me or her I’m trying to convince.

    “Good! You’re going to do great! I’ve already printed the anticipation guide for you, but I have some bad news.”

    Jesus Christ. Really? What now? I press my phone into the side of my head, not caring which cracks first: my skull or the phone.

    “That’s fine! What’s up?”

    “The entire school is out of paper.”

    Are you fucking kidding me? Knuckles turning white, I clutch my steering wheel in a half-assed attempt to control the slowly enveloping sense of despair that I feel inching its way into my blood stream.

    Despite my inability to articulate a coherent thought, I begin, “Okay, so…” desperately hoping she will finish my sentence.

    “So, you’ll brainstorm on an alternative assignment while you’re sitting in traffic! I’ll see you when you get here. We’ll make it work!”

    That’s fine. At least she’s confident in my abilities.

    8:55 a.m.

    Mrs. J, handing me a fresh cup of coffee, laughs, “I figured you’d need this! What’d you come up with?” She bounces on the balls of her feet.

    Head spinning, thoughts racing, heart pounding, I snatch the Styrofoam cup from her steady, relaxed hands. Why is she laughing, and why is she so chipper? I gulp nearly half the cup of coffee in order to buy myself time. I still have no idea what I’m going to do. Shit. Shit. Shit. OH WAIT.

    “I finished that mini lesson on infinitives, so if we have time we can do that. Let me go grab my flash drive out of my car," suddenly extremely grateful my plans bailed on me last night, giving me a free night to work on materials.

    She nods her head in agreement with a frown of approval, “That sounds fine, The Lora! I’ll go ahead and start homeroom for you.”

    Clutching the cup of remaining coffee in my left hand, I successfully journey to my car in a last ditch effort to salvage this day.

    And it was fine.
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