By SH Woodgeard
In college, I had a professor who’d had a significant health scare and was on the verge of forced retirement. The class was on the history of Mexico, but during lectures, the professor would fall silent and drift into ruminations—so thoroughly it seemed he’d forgotten we were there. He’d be lecturing us on Porfirio Diaz and the development of the Mexican Railway until he’d stop talking, suddenly, and stare out the window, his milky eyes flittering across the empty quad. After one of these prolonged periods of blankness, he turned to me sitting in the front row.
“You wear a watch, young sir?”
Instinctively, I glanced at my wrist to check.
“No, sir. I don’t,” I said.
He smiled wide. “Good,” he said. “You will be a man on your own time, not theirs.”
I didn’t know what he meant. I didn’t know who the theirs were.
And although it was the middle of class, with at least an hour left to go, we watched him drape his beige overcoat over his broad, sloped shoulders, gather his papers in a chaotic wad, and step out into the light of the November afternoon where the last of autumn awaited him.
SH Woodgeard is a writer from Southern Ohio. Currently, he’s a Ph.D. student in Fiction at Oklahoma State University. X/Twitter: @shhhwoodgeard.