Her office radiator clangs. She leans to gape at me through Coke bottle lenses. Her alto is a rattle and her teeth are all wrong. “I’m afraid I’ll always be alone,” I say. I am nineteen. “Maybe you’re supposed to be alone,” she erupts with a grin. Some then-undiscovered part of me recoils. She pulls two weeks of Paxil from a drawer and eyes my guitar case — she knows my instructor. “Tell him I said hello.” He is wincing, fifteen minutes later, and then he looks at me, and casts a kindly smile. Then he says we should tune up.
Back inside my dorm I turn the Paxil over in my hands. In an instant the box becomes a portal to the future. It’s the kind of future that I can make a definite choice about, right then and there. Post-its slide to make the box a place inside my desk, in case I change my mind. I don’t.