Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

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Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

January 24 2003

Morning: 5 out of 10

Afternoon: 4 out of10

Evening: 6 out of 10

You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about that visit to Miami Dade the other day. I’m thinking I really accomplished something with that advisor, like I got her to see something in me, like determination maybe, or anything other than bullshit. Halfway through the conversation, there was this total one-eighty in her body language from when we started talking; she pushed her shoulders back, looked me in the eye, smiled a little. That’s got to mean something. By time I left, I kind of liked her actually. She reminded me of my mom, who could be a real bitch sometimes but she was always a real bitch. Like, she was skeptical about everything and didn’t try to hide it, but she would also help you as long as you were willing to help yourself and didn’t try to b.s. her. The Miami Dade advisor told me at one point that Florida has this thing, an articulation agreement between community colleges and the state universities. I asked her what the hell an articulation agreement was and she told me it was basically this guarantee that if I get my A.A. from Miami Dade—or any community college in the state—I’ll be automatically accepted into any university in the state.[1]

That sounds pretty cool to me, really cool actually. Almost like that articulation agreement was specially made for people like me, people who fall off track for a couple of years and decide to get back on after a while. It’s not a sure thing yet. I got the paperwork, but who knows. I’ve got to go around to a couple of places like my high school and FIU so I can get all my records transferred over which, knowing me, might prove to be too much of a hassle. I never know how I’m going to react to anything in the long run. I might wake up tomorrow and think this is all bullshit. But, I mean, I’m feeling it right now. And Dr. Silver said it would be good for me, and he hasn’t led me astray yet. So maybe. Probably. Hopefully. Hopefully I can go to Miami Dade for two years then leave all of this behind, move up to Gainesville for to UF, or Tallahassee for FSUOrlando and UCFBoca and FAU. I looked up all the state universities and it’s like there’s one in any part of Florida I’d ever want to go to. UNF in JacksonvilleUWF in PensacolaUSF Tampa.

It’s crazy, to think I could be living on my own in one of those cities in a couple years, not working as a fry cook anymore, studying and doing something better with myself. I’m tired of everything here. Tired of all that heat coming from the fryer at work, the way the only emotion you’re allowed to let out around anybody at that place—in this whole goddamn city—is anger. Anger’s accepted—promoted—around the people I have to see every day. The people I work with, they all tell everybody they’re “going back to school soon, son. I’ma get my education son and I’ma do something with myself cuz.” And it’s all bullshit. You can see it in their eyes that it’s bullshit. They’re content being fry and grill and broil cooks for the rest of their life if they can, burning grease into the creases of their skin and spending their checks on streaming supplies of weed, coke and strippers. They’re not all bad, but the good ones always do the bad stuff for a while then move on to better things. I’m a good one. I really believe I am now.

I need to move on. I don’t want to be stuck. I can’t deal with that crowd anymore. I need a goal, something to look forward to or I’m going to slip right back into the frame of mind that got me here in the first place. I think things might be different for me now though. I feel motivated for the first time in a while, and I’m still trying to get used to it, and sometimes I can feel that edge of panic coming on me again, like it used to, and I get scared I’m going to start up with the attacks and the depression and lose all this hope I’ve gained. But then it goes away and I think I’ll be alright.

I still don’t know what I want to do, but I do want to do something. And who knows, maybe I will still end up in one of those practical careers, the “money-making” ones. I don’t know, but I do know I’m just going to roll with it, do what feel’s right and see what happens. It’s exciting, I’ll admit it. Both not knowing where your future is going and knowing that you finally have control over finding out.


[1] Florida’s articulation agreement guarantees entrance into state universities with a qualifying Associate of Arts degree from a community college, provided the program the student wants to enter at the university level is not limited access.

________________________________________________________________________

Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 6

24 June 2011

[Ms. D’Amico sighs and gazes out the window] You know, there are things I regret in my life. And I know there were things Tony regretted. But I don’t regret meeting him, and I don’t think he regretted doing what he did.

– The only thing he regretted was letting Earl take the fall. You don’t know how hard it was for him to even ask Earl for help in the first place. He almost didn’t ask him, and he said he would have backed off immediately if Earl hadn’t been so eager. He said Earl was the one who planned most of it, actually.

– Tony was devastated about how Earl got blamed for it all, even though it was Earl’s idea. And if Earl had known that, known that Tony was extremely sorry for everything that happened, maybe he wouldn’t have taken him away from me, away from his kid. Maybe my son wouldn’t be growing up right now without a fath— [Ms. D’Amico’s voice cracks, and she pauses. After a moment, she gives a pained smile] But, then, things are never that simple, are they?

________________________________________________________________________

Recovered From Anthony Stephens’ Mood journal

Who Is Anthony Stephens?Click For Parts 30-33

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Written by patrickandersonjr

April 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

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