How To Find What You Came Here For

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Back To School


There is something about the smell of a school.  It doesn’t really matter what school, because they all have the same basic smell…as if it was built into the walls during construction.
When I walked into the high school on my first day as a substitute teacher, I was struck by the fact that this high school smelled exactly the same as the one I’d done time in, 600 miles and a lifetime ago. 

I’d always wanted to be a teacher, but life had intervened.  Now I was in a classroom at last, albeit as a substitute, and I was terrified.

Memories of high school suddenly snapped into focus, like that moment in a horror movie when you finally see the monster for the first time.  I remembered what had happened to some of our subs.  What was I thinking?  These kids had no reason to do anything I told them to do.  I was screwed.

I sucked a breath into frozen lungs as I watched thirty students, every one taller than I was, pour through the door as the bell rang. 

It was too late to back out now, and I needed the job.

“James Aborn,” I called out the first name on the roster.

“Yo, whazzup girl?”  The cocky voice rose from the back, and scattered giggles followed it up.

Without thinking I walked back to his desk.  “Would you like a second chance on your first impression, Mr. Aborn?” I asked him, my voice low and calm.

The lanky body sank lower in his seat and his eyes met mine briefly.  “Y-yes ma’am.”

“Good choice.”  I walked casually back to the front.  “James Aborn?”

“Here!”

I moved on to the next name, “Lizzie Allen?”

“Here!”

My fear retreated with each name.  I was going to be fine.




This post is a response to a prompt from Write On Edge - "In “On Writing” Stephen King wrote, “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”  The word limit was 300 - a hard number to hit!  Thank you for stopping by, and as always, comments are appreciated!