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Red Alert

After viewing a comic strip by Larry Cuban, I wrote:

It was right before my Introduction to Art course my freshman year in college. I had only recently began but was dead-set on arriving at least 20 minutes before it began (per my personality) I had, in all Erica glory, had decided to attend each class start to finish. Each day. That later changed.

I approached the circle of computers in which students could access and talked to someone new who ended up being my best friend. I remember talking to him about my friends. My family. How we had the same birthday. He was covered in tattoos and had his nose pierced. So, of course, many considered him a "bad influence." I didn't. Now, most of those same people who would given him a nervous glance and scurried away have multiple tattoos. Ironic.

I see the familiar notification alert on Facebook. I saw that someone had recently written on my wall. I was also tagged. Wait, did he know that the message was going to me? It seemed misplaced, awkward in the column of "how are you" and "let's get together soon!" posts peppering my wall.

Kellen Green was a hometown friend of mine. But he was dating my best friend so when I read the message, I thought I would text her to see what it was about.

"Hey Erica. Let me know if you need anything." Well, that was nice, sure. I liked the post and entered the class with all of the beginning-of-the-year crowd of students who would soon drop the course.

I had checked my phone and saw that I missed a call from one of my best hometown friend's mother. Once again, although strange events, I never once put them together. I wouldn't call back at that point. It was probably a mistake anyway.

Regardless, Art was in a large coliseum just like in the movies. This gave people the option to blend into their peers and listen to music instead of the lecture. As in films portraying the relatively-accurate depiction of college students, there were even those in the front raising their hands incessantly as to prove to everyone and to themselves that they knew everything. Go for it. I didn't know much about Sandro Botticello anyway.

I had to pay attention. There were people who relied on my notes and answers to test questions.

A hurried teacher's assistant scurried to the front in the middle of the lecture my professor had just begun. He whispered in his ear and then moved into the wings of the lecture hall and out of my view. I then leaned over to a student I had recently met, who I'd end up sitting next to the entire semester. Murmurings of conversation stopped when I heard the announcement, looking up from my discussion on things I had heard that happened on campus.

"Erica Goforth, please speak to the dean of students just outside the hall," he said matter-of-factly, with no real emotion in his voice.

I stood up, embarrassed to move to the top of the stairs and evading glances of wonder and whispers. This was probably because I kicked the dorm elevator last night in frustration for it to take so long.

He stated that I needed to call someone: my friend's mother. Whose call I had missed. I called and immediately asked, "What happened to her?"

"Let me tell her," a familiar, voice wrought with emotion, cried out. My sister.

I found out that my father had passed away earlier that morning.

Kellen had already known. And I hadn't.

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