“Kye, are you sure about this?” I ask from my room with the door slightly open, changing out of my pajamas. This is not something I planned on doing, ever, but it has to be done.
“Not really,” Kye replies sarcastically popping her head through her doorway while she makes her bed. “It’ll be fine Jen, there’s like two hundred people in my lectures, no one knows anyone and no one will even notice. Trust me,” she reassures.
“You wouldn’t do it,” I mumble.
Kye overhears me, “You’re right, I wouldn’t, I’ve always been a good girl, but right now, we have made a deal, so the choices we make from now on will be different from the normal crap. So right now, in our situation, yes I would.”
“Would what?” Brian bursts through the front door with Rio trailing behind. “Would what?” he repeats.
They walk down our corridor.
“Wait!” I yell nervously toppling over my jeans, “I am changing!” I slam the door shut. I hear Kye and Rio gigging, “Man! Can’t you guys knock?”
“Well, you’re the one changing with the door open,” Brian yells back at me through my door.
He is such an idiot. I shout back at him, “I mean the front door you ass!”
I finish changing in a rush and pull the door open finding Brian imitating me in front of Kye. Brian is against everything I say and he is getting on my last nerves. He stops the act when he sees me glaring at him in anger. Lia, Marcus and Deq knock at the door and then walk in. I gesture to Brian, indicating what a knock sounds like.
“Anyway, ‘would do what?’” Rio comes back to the point.
I look at Kye looking for an answer. Should we tell them about our deal? We both know we’re stupid but they don’t.
“Hurry up, we have to go to class,” Lia insists.
“Oh yeah, Jen I can walk you to your class, I’m going the same way,” Brian teases me.
I blurt it all out, “No thanks, I’m not going to that class. I’m going to Kye’s class.”
“What?” Deq asks me.
“What?” Rio asks Kye.
“What?” Kye asks me again.
I give Kye a look and then explain the whole situation as quickly as possible to our friends. We get asked a lot of questions and we try our best to answer them but everyone is still muddled and slightly amused.
“So let me get this straight,” Rio says leaning on the wall in thought, “Kye’s going to study physics and somehow take part in theatre stuff and become an actress. Jen’s going study literature just to stay in this university and then you’re going to sneakily study astrophysics, get a degree and become an astronaut,” he finishes and folds his arms.
It sounds terrible when someone says it back like that.
Kye awkwardly nods.
“That’s the plan,” I say.
“You guys made a deal?” asks Deq.
We both nod. Silence.
“That’s not going to last,” Brian breaks it.
“Even if it did, how are you going to pay for those extra exams? And Kye, theatre and acting training can cost a lot too you know,” Rio makes a good point.
“We’ll find work, get jobs,” Kye finally says something.
Marcus sighs, “I see what you guys are trying to do and I understand what you want, but I agree with Brian, you’ll do it for a few weeks and then you’ll forget about it. Trust me. You might as well not get your hopes up. That’s the reality. You don’t want to lose out on your current degree if things go wrong. Then you’ll lose out on both your education and your dreams,” he tries to put some sense into us.
But I am not willing to make sense of things right now, “Guys, we are going to do this. I mean, we don’t really know each other that well, but thanks for the advice.” It is weird saying that, it feels like we’ve known each other for a lot longer, but that’s the truth.
“You two have also only just met!” adds Brian, scowling at me.
“Guys,” Kye steps in, smiling, “It’s not about how long we’ve known each other, this is about opportunity, this is our last chance and a good one too, we’ve found a path, one that’s a little odd, yes, but it’s a path, and we’ve been searching for one for years, so we have to take it.” She speaks softly yet persuasively, “We’re young, we’re students, and we don’t have responsibilities like children to feed or a mortgage to pay, so if we want to do something for ourselves then this is the right time. We might never get a chance again. When we look back at our lives twenty years from now, I don’t want to think, ‘I wish I’d done this, because maybe I’d be in a different position now.’ No! I want to be sure that I’ve tried everything and have taken every opportunity, so that when I look back at my life, I have no regrets. Besides, what do we have to lose?”
Well, Kye did that brilliantly. There’s silence in the room. She really does make you think and creates that movie kind of atmosphere, I can hear some kind of sad-ish motivational music playing in the back of my head.
“Okay fair point but what if you fail and not graduate because of this… deal?” Rio asks.
“Well, like Michael Jordan says; ‘I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.’”
The boys all look at Kye in awe.
“I have two brothers,” she explains.
Kye makes another straight to the point, point. She is either amazing at motivational speeches or a damn good actress. Everyone is in deep thought, warming up to the idea, Rio and Lia are smiling already.
“Literature and Physics are our backup. We won’t fail. That’s what you guys will help us with. Then we will be able to pay our mortgages, feed our children and help our husbands.” I close the discussion with a light laugh.
They all agree and giggle with some conviction and then we leave for our lectures and my first astrophysics class.
* * *
We walk down the long hallway, through two sets of large double doors until we reach the lecture theatre. Kye had told me to act normal, I suppose the acting part is easier for her, but I think I’m doing pretty well. People wait around the doorway, some in groups chatting, some daydreaming, and some staring at their phones. Kye introduces me as an astrophysics student to a few people she had met at the introductory sessions – that feels good.
We enter a lecture theatre that can easily seat around two hundred people. We take our seats near the back in the middle of the row. People have their books and laptops out. Kye pulls out a notebook, a fancy calculator and a textbook. I take out my notebook and pencil case. Soon, everyone is seated but the chatter remains loud. The door opens again. An old man, around the age of sixty walks in. He has a slight hunchback and holds a black brief case. His clothes are a combination of neutral colors such as creams and browns. He places the briefcase down on the desk at the font of the room, pushes his round glasses up and brushes his grey, turning white, wispy hair back with his hands. He takes a few minutes to sort out his desk and then stands looking up at everyone. He waits for silence. I’m nervous, I know my cheeks are flushes like a red apple in a basket of green apples. Silence finally falls. He then hands a sheet of paper to a student at the front and asks him to pass it around for us to write our names on it.
“Professor Kyle Kennedy,” he says in an old, wise but strong voice whilst writing it on the board. “You may call me Professor or Dr. Kennedy. I have been teaching here for thirty years and have completed three PhD’s in astrophysics, mathematics and cosmology. You will see me quite a bit during your time here, as I teach quite a few modules and I am the dean of this school. You may be studying slightly different subjects but all your first year classes consists of the same content, hence this will be your class for the year. In your second and final year only a few modules very specific to your subject will be studied separately depending on your subject.” He pronounces every syllable in a posh tone, “You have all chosen tough subjects therefore I expect you to be the brightest students of your entire generation. I expect you to work hard and be proactive and to read and research instead of watching online TV shows.”
I think he tried to be funny, but his face is still serious and so is the class.
“All assignments are to be handed in on time, if not before the deadline. Answers in exams are to be clear and well written with no excuses. I will not waste my marking time trying to decipher terrible handwriting.”
I feel scared, it feels like he’s only looking at me when he talks.
He continues, “There will be plenty of opportunities to gain internships from various companies and even to secure graduate work throughout your time here, but that shall depend on you as an individual as the competition is extremely tough. You are all mature adults but I will make clear to you my two rules; no chatting and most definitely no use of phones. I will learn your names but for now forgive me if I pronounce them incorrectly.”
My heart skips a few beats.
“Any questions?” he asks.
“Alright. Welcome to Introductory Physics,” he says, turning to his notes neatly laid out on the desk. “Now, a top grade question to test your abilities; what are Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion?”
Silence, no hands.
He looks around, then pushes his glasses down and randomly reads from a piece of paper, “Ki… Kyara Averoni,” he moves his eyes scanning the room. Kye’s eyes widen, she flushes red and sinks into her seat.
“Miss Averoni?” he asks again.
Kye looks at me thinking shit and then slowly raises her hand.
“Ah yes, Miss Averoni, do you know what they are?”
Kye seems lost for words, she ‘errs’ and then tries to make a thinking face. She doesn’t know the anser. But I do! I know exactly what he is asking and have already finished writing the laws down in my notebook. I nudge her as she’s about to give up, I point at my writing, tapping on the paper. She needs to trust me. Kye looks down, she hesitates for a few seconds looking confused and then reads it out.
“The first law…” she begins reading from the notes I point at with my pen, “is the law of orbits – all planets move in elliptical orbits with the sun at one focus. The second law…” her eyes widen, she pauses to understand what I’ve written, “…the second law is the law of areas – A equals L over two M (), and the third is the law of periods where T squared equals open bracket four, pie squared over G, M, close bracket r cubed ()…. I think.” She finishes nervously.
“Well, that is correct!” Dr Kennedy acknowledges her with a nod. “It can also be…” he continues to explain the concept further.
Kye sits back in shock. She turns to me and mouths ‘what the heck’ with a wide eyed smile. I just wink at her.
The lecture is intriguing and I know a lot of the concepts already from my own reading and research. I’m surprised that I actually am on the same level of these physics geeks, if not higher. Maybe it is meant to be, maybe I will become an astronaut, yes I will…