|Learning to See
Author: Joan Reynolds Eldridge PM
In her yearbook, before she left for high school, he wrote: “You are an extraordinary young woman. Carpe diem.” And her heart soared as she thought: “Am I really extraordinary to anyone? To him?” Warnings: Teacher/student relationship, bad language, etc.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 3 - Words: 2,990 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 04-24-08 - Published: 04-02-08 - id: 2498393
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Sorry it's been awhile, I'm having some problems with my hands. I went to the orthopedist, who for now is being indecisive and unhelpful. Typing is difficult. I was having a relatively pain-free day, so I cranked out a chapter.
Many thanks to my lovely beta Cavedwellers, who deserves much love and pie. :D
The morning of March nineteenth dawned muggy and unseasonably warm. Greg Jones awoke, cursing the ache that flared up in his knees when it was humid or cold.
"You know, if you took that glucosamine I bought you ages ago, you'd probably feel better."
-This from his wife, Dorinne, who was fond of vitamins and herbal supplements. He, on the other hand, was fond of bourbon, cheeseburgers, and black coffee. There was probably a reason she still looked like she was thirty when she was only two years younger than him.
"Yes, but then I wouldn't get to bitch and moan," he replied affably as she passed him a full travel mug. She gave him her usual morning once-over.
"You have a spot on your tie."
"It gives it character."
"And it looks yucky. Go change it."
Greg raised an eyebrow. "'Yucky?'"
Dorinne smacked him with a dishtowel.
He stuck his tongue out at her.
"Yeah, yeah, I love you too. Do you have class tonight?"
Greg was taking graduate classes to try to finish his Master's. Who knew – maybe next year he'd actually get that job teaching high school.
"Nope. Should be home around four."
"Okay. Be good. Try not to kill any students today."
He grinned. "Well, actually, my student-teacher starts today, so I'll leave that up to her."
Dorinne frowned in mock admonishment. "Don't be too hard on her on the first day."
He tried to look recalcitrant. "Me?"
"Yes, you. Go or you'll be late."
"Sarah, come on. We have to go!"
Field experience: Day one. Laurel was jogging up the street that ran behind her high school. It served as a parking strip for the juniors and for seniors who hadn't been able to secure a paid space in the school lot. Laurel, unfortunately, had had to park at the far end of the street that morning, almost to the nearby shopping center, with its designer boutiques and high-end groceries. And now she was jogging to her car.
In a wool suit.
With all her books, and a messenger bag, while trying frantically to dig her car keys out of her purse.
"Laurel, slow down! What's the rush?"
Laurel stopped and fixed Sarah with a scathing glare. "Every second I spend waiting for you is another second I'm not spending with him. Move it. Now."
She spun on her heel and set off again. By the time Sarah had reached Laurel's car – a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle with a black racing stripe and white daisy hubcaps – Laurel had already stowed her belongings in the trunk and was in the car, cranking the air conditioning, waiting for Sarah. As Sarah put her own belongings in the trunk, Laurel thought she heard her muttering something about girls with inappropriate Lolita complexes.
"I can hear you, and if you don't shut up and get in the car, I swear to God I will leave you here."
A few moments later, they were on the road, Laurel taking curves on two wheels and exceeding the speed limit by roughly twenty miles an hour at all times. Sarah was clutching the door handle in fear for her life. Finally, when they reached a stoplight, Sarah asked if Laurel minded if she plugged in her iPod to Laurel's stereo.
"No, go ahead."
Sarah played some sort of a rap song with a thumping beat. Laurel made a face.
Sarah skipped to something from Phantom of the Opera.
"That'll put me to sleep. Next."
Sarah scrolled through her music choices, then cackled.
"Oh, too perfect," she said.
Laurel's face lit up as she heard the familiar intro.
"YOU SUCK!" she shrieked, but Sarah just laughed and the two of them sang along.
"Young teacher: The subject of schoolgirl fantasy…"
It wasn't more than ten minutes later that they pulled into the parking lot of Brookfield Middle School and signed the Visitor Log at the main entrance. They parted ways, Laurel heading to the eighth grade building, Sarah to the sixth.
As Laurel walked down the windowless, seemingly endless hallway, she forced herself to breathe deeply. The clicking of her high heels echoed loudly on the tile floor, masking the mantra she softly whispered to herself.
"This will not be awkward, this will not be awkward…"
Finally, she reached the door of room 819. She took one more deep breath, ran a hand through her hair, and opened the door.
His back was to the door when she entered, and she had one last fleeting moment where she had an almost irresistible desire to turn around and run. That desire only lasted until he turned around.
His entire face lit up with a huge grin. Laurel spent a five-second eternity trying to remember how exactly to breathe. She remembered a quote she thought was from a book that said something about the heart remembering what the mind forgets – she had forgotten that smile.
"My god, Laurel, look at you. You look beautiful!"
And he hugged her then, for which she was glad; it gave her a moment to blink back the tears.
She had him back. After three and a half years, she had him back.