Like 9

There was a tone in Marcellus’ voice that made Midge want to start paddling back to shore. A darkness she had never heard from him before. “I thought you told me you were all excited about graduate school.”

Marcellus shrugged, dipped his paddle back into the lake. “What you heard, was me trying to convince myself that I was doing the right thing.”

“I’m guessing you lost that argument?”

He flipped his paddle to the other side of the canoe. “Depends on your perspective.”

Midge turned in her seat to face the front of the canoe, flipped her straight black hair off her face with the palm of her right hand, then took up her paddle again. They were headed back to the dock. “Grad school have anything to do with this ‘big decision’ you’re thinking about?”

“Not really.” She felt him paddle mightily twice. “I mean, the rejection letter got me to start thinking, about my goals. You know, what I want to do when I grow up. And I’m telling you, what I’m thinking about, is kind of out there.”

They approached the dock from where they’d left. “If you’d rather not — ”

She lurched forward in her seat as the forward momentum of the canoe stopped, the sound of Marcellus’ paddle braking against the lake’s surface rushing into her ears. “I want to drop out. Quit my job, move out, get an apartment back where I lived after college.” Midge looked back, saw that Marcellus’ eyeless gaze was already fixed on her behind his dark glasses, as if he were waiting for her. “Get rid of all this, stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. Start over again, like I was fresh out of school. Figure out if all the decisions I’ve made since then, were the right ones. Because right now, it doesn’t feel that way. I’m not happy, haven’t been for a while now, and I don’t know why. So I’m thinking, if I stop being the person I’ve been, maybe I can figure out if that’s the person I want to continue being.”

He set the paddle across his lap, crossed his arms over his chest. Smiled. “So — what do you think?”

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