The Divide

She had not expected the city to be so wet. She knew that the eastern part of the state was greener and more humid than home, she had heard that, but she didn’t know that living in Houston would be like being inside a cloud. She took a city bus to the university area, found the café, reminded the owner who she was, got her work schedule. She found the room she had rented long-distance, on the third floor of a house a few blocks from the coffeehouse. It was furnished decently enough, even towels and a tablecloth, and thankfully, an AC unit. She stacked her books by her bed. At an import shop she bought a bright red-and-purple Indian-print bedspread.

Jenny had assumed the college kids would spend their out-of-class time arguing about counterfactuals and diplomacy, and notions of justice and freedom and the patriarchy, and how society could be reconstructed so that there were no more families with all-seeing heads like in Father Knows Best. The Rice students did talk and talk—but about engineering projects, it seemed to her, about gut classes—meaning easy ones they could ace so they could keep up their GPAs, about internships and job applications, and who do you know. They talked about applying for the next level—a master’s in engineering, law school and business school, memorizing the periodic table, and getting drunk, wasn’t last Saturday a blast. Also the terrible thing their roommate had just done, which usually had to do with borrowing without asking.

People on couch
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