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May 27, 2024


By Niles Reddick

Rosalyn got to work early, wearing her turquoise custodial uniform with her name stitched on the left breast. Rarely did any of the faculty speak to her when they saw her pushing the dust mop across the tiled hallways, mopping restrooms, or cleaning toilets, except Professor Robinson.

Rosalyn wore comfort shoes, the same type some of the nursing faculty wore on the first floor. She always had less cleaning on the first floor compared to the second, where the Liberal Arts faculty were housed. "Tanto papel," she told her husband. Of course, there was a lot of paper because the faculty were writing and getting published, but she didn't understand promotion and tenure. Rosalyn, however, understood a great deal about the faculty and could have told administrators and her priest a lot: who was having relations and who smoked, drank, and took drugs in their offices.

Her routine before faculty arrived was to empty all trashcans, wipe their desks (if the desks were paper and book free, that is; she didn't like moving their things), and wipe their phones. Wiping phones wasn't required, but Rosalyn she saw it as her way of helping because of germs. She heard Robinson whimpering, but didn't dare check. Later, when she was in the hallway, Rosalyn heard a gunshot.

"Dios Mio!" Rosayln screamed down the hallway, stairs, and to first floor, where one nurse came to her aid. Rosalyn had a difficult time translating into English when she was upset. "I think someone shot Professor Robinson." The nurse closed and locked her office door and called security. They held hands. Within minutes, campus and local police were searching the building for a shooter and breaking into Professor Robinson's office. The officer found her crumpled against the door, blood and brain matter splattered on the wall and floor. The pistol was still in her hand.

The note taped to her computer monitor revealed her dilemma and world traveled fast around the campus. "Dios Mio," Rosalyn said when her supervisor shared.

The Dean fired her because she hadn't received tenure. Her note also revealed she was ending her life because she couldn't live without her student lover. Due to a bizarre turn of events, she had discovered he was genetically her son. As an undergraduate, she'd donated eggs to a clinic in to make extra money. Many of her friends had done it, and many of her male friends had donated sperm. The horrible thought came into her mind one morning when her student lover got out of bed and walked across the room. With his back facing her, she noted a birthmark on his shoulder blade identical to hers. She felt it too strange and had secretly collected saliva samples on Q-tips to send to a DNA company. When the results came many weeks later, her nightmare was confirmed. She left her belongings to her newly discovered son. He didn't understand, but was appreciative of the stuff.

Article © Niles Reddick. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-06-08
Image(s) are public domain.
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