he says a big storm is coming tonight, let me pick you up. I am stubborn. I say tomorrow there is a midterm, I cannot study at home, do not worry, go to bed, I will take a later bus. 

on the later bus, after midnight, as the wind howls, the wheels spin in place, moving only snow, digging themselves deeper. the driver calls for help, says that the next one headed home will be here in 45 minutes. I pick up the phone and call my father. he chuckles, says to wait, he will be right there. on the way home, he does not remind that he works at 6:00 a.m. instead, he asks how my studying went. fine, I say. I do not tell him that for most of the night, I smiled into the brown eyes of a woman, as she explained the basics of biophysics. 

I fail that midterm. my father works at 6:00 a.m. every morning. I fail that class. on another bus home, I stare into the melting snow, Fairuz blasting into my ears, we shall return / the nightingale told me. 

I fail another class. my father works at 6:00 a.m. I fail my sixth class. I mull over the words of the student success councillor, you are doing your best, my father calls, I can hear the weather channel in the background. he asks if I need a ride home before he falls asleep.