9. tea and comfort.

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The first few weeks of the semester went by in a blur

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The first few weeks of the semester went by in a blur.

My clinical placement for the term was in the pediatric ward, which was rewarding, but also exhausting— both mentally and physically. I had been leaning towards pediatrics as my field of work after graduation, but I was already reconsidering that after just a few weeks of working the floor.

Although the kids were amazing, the heartbreak was too much for me some days. It was downright gutting at times. I knew that it was something that would get easier with time, but I wasn't sure that I wanted it to.

The remainder of my classes consisted of anatomy and physiology; nursing pharmacology; and an abnormal psychology elective. I was teaching a handful of classes at the yoga studio as well.

Needless to say, I hardly had any downtime at home and Ethan and I were like two ships passing in the night.

He was home about as infrequently as I was, and it was usually at different times. In theory, one might think this was ideal for a roommate but in reality, it was actually kind of disappointing. I liked spending time with him and it rarely ever happened.

After a 9am-9pm shift one night, my mom called my cell just as I walked in the door. When I told her about things falling through with Isabelle, she had gone into a tizzy. She had been calling frequently to check up on me ever since.

I didn't want to stress her out any further, so I may have fibbed and told her that Ethan was my friend Hannah's cousin. I may have further embellished said fib by letting my mother believe that Hannah was living with us as well.

I knew it was wrong— and I was screwed if she visited. But my mother's head would have exploded if she knew I was living alone with a guy.

"Hey mom," I said. Guilt permeated my brain.

"Hi sweetie. How are you doing? How's school?"

"Great. Hectic, but things are going really well. How's work?" I asked her, hoping she wouldn't ask me about my living arrangements.

"Oh, pretty good. Phil's caseloads have been heavy lately and it's been keeping me busy too," she said, pausing. "Listen, speaking of Phil... I wanted to tell you something," she said, pausing.

My mother was a paralegal for a successful local lawyer, Phillip Matthews. She had been working for him for a few years now, ever since she left a larger firm due to lack of work/life balance. And by lack of balance, I mean the expectation was that you didn't have a life outside of work.

Having only met Phil a handful of times, I liked him. He was a sole practitioner and it seemed like he treated his employees more humanely than most people in his field.

As a paralegal, my mom's salary still wasn't overly high; sometimes she fussed over being unable to help me financially. But she was happy, and that's all I cared about. For myself, I had student loans and scholarships.

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