I had returned to Portsmouth to live in the Gay Street House and attend high school classes at Shawnee State University. I disliked school. I still had quite a bit of work to complete (I was taking five different subjects and was behind in all). I hadn't even been going to classes in one subject.
I realized I had already finished both college and law school and I was now a lawyer; but I had never completed high school and I had never received a high school diploma. Nevertheless, the more I thought about it, the more my returning to high school seemed pointless; it seemed I should simply quit. I knew my father wanted me to get my high school diploma, but I could no longer see the point. I was already a lawyer and I no longer needed to prove anything.
As I climbed out of bed and began dressing for school, I thought about how I had missed classes the previous day. Having missed a day, I hated to go back again. I thought one of my teachers (who reminded me of Miss Wolfe, my junior-high math teacher) would ask me if I had been sick. I didn't want to lie and say I had been sick, but I didn't want to tell her I simply hadn't wanted to come to school, either.
I had missed so much of one class in particular, I probably wouldn't be able to graduate anyway. I abruptly decided I was simply going to quit and not attend school any more.
I walked into the bedroom where my mother was and I discussed the matter with her. I told her I was going to quit and she indicated it made no difference to her.
I took my clothes back off, except for my underwear and climbed back into the bed under the covers. My mother was sitting next to the bed talking to me. I could see my father enter the adjoining living room. Since I worried he would think I had been lying there all this time, I got back up out of bed and dressed. As I did, I looked out the windows – the high school was across the street. I finally decided to go into the living room and tell my father what I had decided.
My mother and I walked into the room where my father was – a man was sitting there with him. I didn't want to say anything to my father about my decision in front of the other man. The man appeared to be a painter and he had something red splashed between his eyes. I couldn't tell whether the substance was paint, or blood, or something else. My father introduced the man and said that he was the son of my uncle Ronald (my mother's brother).
I was surprised we had found another son of my uncle Ronald's whom neither my mother nor I had known about. My father then gave the man's name, which sounded like "Collin Halley." The man reached out and shook my hand. I didn't get a good grasp on his hand, and when he pulled his hand back, he said, "You owe me a dollar."
I replied, "What for?"
He said, "Because it slipped through your hand."
I was uncertain exactly what he meant, but I thought he was talking about my limp handshake.
The man seemed friendly enough. He was tall and slender and had black hair and a black mustache.
Since I didn't think now was the appropriate time to tell my father I had quit school, I walked back into the bedroom and pondered what I was going to do today. Maybe I would contact my old high school classmate and friend, Roger Anderson. Anderson didn't go to school anymore and he might be in town; he might be home. I remembered that when I had first returned to Portsmouth, I had called Anderson's home, but his mother had told me he wasn't home at the moment. So I hadn't yet been able to talk with him.
As I thought about contacting Anderson, my sister walked into the room. We talked. Apparently she was also going to school and she intended to continue. I told her about the subjects I had been studying and I began talking about a story I had been reading at school about a man named "Orgetorix" who had been a king or warlord in Gaul. I recalled having read about him in Julius Caesar's Commentaries. The book was no longer important to me – I wasn't going to continue reading it since I was quitting school. Perhaps I also needed to discard other subjects which I had been learning – the book was just an example. My thoughts seemed to be signaling me to discard other things and move on to new ground.
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