Rachel the Chameleon

There is always that close friend whom you don’t need to see often to maintain that closeness. That friend knows everything happening in your life, despite the circumstances of missed time. In my case, it was Luke, who lives far away and thus we only get to meet once every two years.

Luke and I arranged to meet in Starbucks. He orders his usual americano, and my green tea soy latte. I was ready to find a table outside for the convenience of my friend, but he shook his head. He said he had already quit smoking. That’s new, I thought as he took out a pretentious vape from his pocket.

He knew me when I got engaged, and then as a cafe owner, and then a university professor, and then a mom, and then a travel writer, and now–a bum-by-choice.

Every time we met, he said, ‘I was always different and he was always the same’. He whines about working for the same corporation since graduation; but not the fact that he now has a high position and earns a monthly six-digit figure.

  1. A few weeks from now, I will be unemployed. This after eight full semesters, two summer semesters and 3,000 students. I felt that I have learned so much from my students than otherwise. I will miss the loud laughter from colleagues who made working together worthwhile, it never felt like work at all. Nor did it feel like four years.

Officially, I will be on “study leave.” But I’m not even sure if I wanted to finish my masters, or to finally start on my book or to climb Mt. Everest, or all of the above.

So, I pooled whatever liquid I had and booked a Euro trip adventure. In my head, it sounded like a rather logical decision to do at the time. Kinda like my habit of tipping buskers the last of my change and cheerfully hoping they don’t spend it on meth.

Luke teases me about my transient drifter phase, because he said I was supposed to be the ‘smarter one’.

“You are like a chameleon.” he mused.

“That’s an ironic way to describe me. Lizards are the only thing I am deathly afraid of.”

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