What a difference a day makes? Today is 5th June, 2012. Here you are, at your university, with a gigantic bundle of paper in your arms. You enter the department, on your way to your supervisor’s office. Then you remember. It was in that very corridor, on the 5th June, 1999.
You see yourself coming out of that lecturer’s office, crying your eyes out. You do not need to ask the reason, because you know: Ray Bradbury. According to that lecturer, “this author is not scholarly enough to deserve an academic paper”. In any case, your paper is “a bunch of banal divagations”. He even complained about the illustrations you included. Yes, the lecturer has decided you should fail the module, but this is not the worst part. He has also told you that they accept “too many people” for postgraduate studies and maybe you should accept “you are not good enough for this”.
From 2012, you look at yourself, conscious that your future is hanging by a thread.
In 1999, you are thinking that your parents do not have a lot of money. They are supportive of your studies; they have never pressured you to get a full time job (like your friends’ parents have done), but maybe you are being selfish and unrealistic. Maybe you are not good enough.
From 2012, you wish to shout at yourself to stop and reflect. That lecturer never praises anybody. He is never happy with anything the students do. He is always telling you how useless you all are. He never guides you so you will do better, he just moans and complains. Should you let his opinion affect you?
In 1999, you dry your tears and look up. Failing a module means you will have to do one more next year if you want to obtain a Research Degree. You better check the list to see what is on offer.
In 2012, you let a sigh of relief and hold your papers tightly. You promise yourself that, one day, you will remind that lecturer how deeply he hurt you.
5th June, 2015. You will return home from the university where you work. You will have just attended an exhibition about the history of science fiction. Of course, Ray Bradbury was included. You will have a book proposal to write, but you will decide to have a coffee first. Then, you will remember the day after your viva voce examination. In that very corridor at your university, you bumped into the lecturer who did not like Ray Bradbury. He was shorter than you remembered; still in the same job he was fifteen years ago. He sincerely congratulated you for obtaining a PhD Cum Laude. He said he was happy somebody managed to do something with her life. Did you remind him how deeply he hurt you? No, you did not. You just thanked him politely. Why did you not remind him? Well, when you reach the 5th June, 2015, you will understand why.
But today is 5th June, 2012. This is the day in which you submit your thesis, and you arrive home to find out that Ray Bradbury has just died.