HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 14

Tommy was enrolled in a local art school. He had considered going to VCU like Frederica, but she wouldn’t let him settle for his second choice just so they’d be at the same school.

“Next week,” he replied.



Another silence.

“It’s… good to see you,” he said.

“You too,” she replied.

Tommy picked at the label on his bottle of pop.

“For a while there, I thought….”

“You thought what?” she asked.

“I thought you were avoiding me,” he replied.

She wanted to speak up, to contradict him, but she didn’t have the strength to pretend anymore. So she didn’t say anything at all. Tommy finished peeling the label from the plastic; he set it aside.



“That night in my car,” he said. “Did… did I hurt you?”

Frederica stared down at the half-eaten crust on the plate in front of her.

“No,” she said.

“Did I make you uncomfortable somehow?” he asked. “Did I say something wrong?”

She shook her head.

“It wasn’t anything you did,” she replied. “It was… what you were thinking.”

“You read my mind?”

“It was an accident,” she said. “Mostly.”

“Then what did you….” His face turned red. “Oh God.”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Look, I can explain….”

“You don’t have to.” She sighed. “I’m such an asshole. This whole time, I’ve been holding your own private thoughts against you, when I had no right to invade them in the first place. I was being completely unfair to you, and I’m sorry.”