Nan knew she wasn’t qualified to work at the magazine. But Professor Paulson, her adviser in the English department and the magazine’s editor, had convinced her. It didn’t take much: he said we need you, and, having rarely felt needed by anyone, Nan said yes.

“There’s a mountain of slush,” he explained as they walked across campus after class. It was autumn, halfway through the first semester of her junior year, but the leaves along the college walk were still fragrant and green.

“Literally, Nan,” he said, amused, his arms outstretched. “Boxes inside of boxes—boxes blocking the back exit. I think it’s actually become a fire hazard!”

People on couch
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