Pine Street Episode 55

Allison, Franny’s neighbor, rose early that Sunday morning after the wedding she didn’t attend, after the day she broke up with her very nice boyfriend, after the day she stared at the house she wanted to buy. Allison opened her eyes as the early summer sunshine filled her bedroom.

Of all the people in and around Pine Street, Allison alone woke up with a sense of optimism and clarity about her future.

She rose, showered, dressed, stopped at the coffee shop for a large Americano to go (noticing that there was, again, a substitute barista, and taking a moment to wonder if her regular server had left town), and walked with her heavy, book-filled backpack to the university’s library. Allison found an open study carrell, flopped her backpack into the chair, and pulled out her notebook, the one where she tracked her “punch list” of things her thesis advisor wanted her to change.

Allison tore out those pages (it was a long list), and spread them on the table. Turning to a clean blank page in her notebook, she began to write. She tackled each change, writing a paragraph or two, citing a new source, noting a few that she thought her thesis advisor was way off base, and she decided to ignore.

By the time she’d finished her now-cold Americano, nearly three hours had gone by. Allison pushed her chair back and reviewed the pages of punch list and the notebook pages she’d filled in response.

In front of her was the road map to finishing her thesis, her degree, and her life as a student.

Allison stacked the torn pages neatly, tucked them back in the notebook, re-loaded her backpack, and tossed her empty coffee cup in the nearest garbage can. Her stomach growled with hunger, and she gave herself permission to buy lunch. Stepping outside the library into a bright, sun-filled midday, she smiled.

She headed toward her favorite deli, just the other side of the main road from the campus, bought a large Ruben sandwich, also her favorite, though she rarely allowed herself to eat a whole one, and found a bench in the sunshine. Allison ate the entire sandwich, the bag of potato chips and styrofoam cup of cole slaw that came with it.

Life, she thought, is full, and so am I.

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