Jane grabbed her textbooks and stepped over the passed out heroin addict in the stairwell. Another addict lay motionless, needle still in arm blocking the doorway. The door creaked as she silently forced it open, the addicts needled arm caught the edge of the door, but still he did not stir. A lone cockroach ran in from the open door to find solace under the addicts needled arm pickpocketed with holes and oozing a yellow liquid. The stench of puss & piss filled the room. Jane cautiously stepped out onto the road and closed the door, leaving the heroin addicts in her apartments communal stairwell.
She continued her 2 hour journey to uni. She handed her science thesis in a month ago and was hoping for some good news. When she arrived at uni she was congratulated – told her papers had been published and she got an offer to study science in the US at Harvard. However a terrible mistake had happened due to a “mix up” of references for the application. Her thesis supervising professor ‘accidentally’ sent the wrong reference in, a negative reference that ensured she would not get funding. “Had the professor done this on purpose or was it an honest mistake?” – Jane wondered. Regardless of what happened – she would not recieve any funding for her future scientific studies, of no fault of her own.
As she sat on the 2 hour train back to her apartment. A tear rolled down her cheek, for she knew she would never be able to afford to study. Her dreams of becoming a professor were shattered. Jane opened the back of her diary and scribbled down – ‘the bird that flies too high – dies’. Shut her diary and stared out the window, her eyes glazed & jaded. She wondered why she wasted her years in academia only to come to this.
As Jane entered the communal stairwell to go up to her apartment, she noticed the man who was lying by the door earlier in the day hadn’t moved. Through the dim light she could see the needle was still in his arm. Something flashed on his chest as she stepped over him. She took out her phone and turned on the torch app. His name badge lit up under the torch light, it read ‘Prof Ben Thomas – lead scientific researcher’. His face stiff and a dull violet blue.
Jane wondered if she had been saved from a tortured life of tenure?…