I must admit, my long term sub had it out for me. When I made jokes, or even seemed happy, Mr. Nila made me sit outside class in the cold, boring hallway, as my biology notes suffered. However, it might have been because I'm female. My male friends never got kicked out of class when they made perverted jokes; in fact, he sometimes laughed along.
I later noticed that he'd call the same two attractive girls up to speak with him almost daily. Although I was only sixteen, I knew what I saw: his eyes were at their chest level…until they began walking towards the back of the room. He then shifted his eyes lower. The looks he gave to some of my female classmates made me sick.
Day after day, week after week, he did this to all the best looking, most innocent girls in the class. I at first copied the others: do work and act like nothing happened; but I soon couldn't ignore the situation. Instead of calling him on it or trying to get him fired, I just used my eyes. My subconscious intention was for him to read what I felt: injustice, disgust, and annoyance. I wanted him to see the harassment these girls must have secretly felt, even if he never dared look at me that way. Whatever look I gave him worked: he shifted his eyes away and avoided making anyone uncomfortable with his stares and grins. I hoped he'd permanently leave the girls alone. A week or two later, he reseated the girls near the front rows and started small talk. He'd make fun of some of the guys in my class as well so that they felt embarrassed to talk to the girls around them.
The peak of my indignant feelings was when he approached the girl I had a crush on. When Francine asked him questions, he'd blush. When she turned in papers, he'd stop and talk to her. If Francine wasn't in class, he'd ask if anybody saw her around, and say that she brightens up the room when she's here. When I told her what I knew, she simply said that I had an active imagination. Kind hearted people such as her just don't see people like him for who they are.
I knew what I had to do. The next time he called her to the front of class, I followed her up there. Before his eyes could shift, I gave him another look, just to show him how wrong he was. My eyes burned with passion, anger, and disgust. His eyes shone back with a sense of fear. I then felt lost in that moment, as if the only thing I cared about was protecting this girl and keeping this vile man's eyes away from her and her body.
"What?" he asked.
"Oh, nothing." I said. "I can't really remember what it was I was going to say."
He squinted at me, his hands in fists on the desk, face turning colors.
I then sat back down. After that, I felt a sense of relief because he never looked at her in that horrid way again. I don't even remember him calling on her to answer any more questions.
All I recall after that was the last time I was in that hallway. I had been in there several times before because of the jokes I've said with my friends. Usually, I'd sit out there for a few minutes at a time. I even walked around the school once out of boredom because he forgot I was outside. However, a new emotion, embarrassment, ran through my veins. Mr. Nila did not just leave me outside this time, but rather, had a talk with me a minute later.
"When boys say those things, they are stupid. When girls do it, they're ugly. Lauren, you're very ugly in my classroom."
An attack on my persona was the last thing I expected from a teacher. He kept going:
"How about I call your mother?"
"I don't even live with her."
"Okay then how about I call someone who actually tries to raise you?"
When he said that, I felt like someone had just stuck me in a straitjacket. I thought about my own realities outside of school, and also about what this substitute did not know versus what he was just assuming.
I tried to catch a glimpse of his state of mind. He was emotionless and almost proud, as if he accomplished something effortlessly. There was no light shining through his pupils. My heart beat so hard and fast that I could barely breathe. My body shook and I began to question if I was still alive.
He walked back in the classroom as I held my head down, ashamed. I did not feel like an outcast, but rather, angry for not talking back to him. Not only had he embarrassed my friends in class, but within a minute, my family and I were introduced to shame. I had not told him off for talking about the people who I love the most.
At that point, instinct took over. Against his orders, I went back to my seat. Just before he spoke, I stared into his eyes; mine deep, cold, and filled with emotions. For the first time in my life, I meant for a huge reaction to occur. I put all of my emotions into that one stare and waited for him to look back. He was telling me something, but I just ignored his words. The fire in my eyes was all I had to use; words would've been of no service here. His eyes went from anger to fear to pain. Nothing around me seemed to matter at that point. I wanted to somehow control and change the situation around me for the better, but for him, the worse.
Before I knew it, a forty year old man started to cry, and thirty pairs of eyes looked my direction. The other students were confused as to what was going on, until my eyes made Mr. Nila radiate with resentment, pain, and injustice. It was as if my eyes transferred my feelings to him. I convinced myself that the other students slowly put the pieces together in their heads. For the rest of the school year, he kept his eyes off innocent girls. I was also happy to find that I aced the course.
To this day, the semester is a blur. Was my long-term substitute sensitive, or did I really get to him with my eyes? My classmates' reactions, scared and silent, led me to believe that I gained the ability to affect one's emotions and actions through the piercing stares I can give people. The way that I've interacted with others since then has been what I have wanted with most people. I can cheer people up, hurt them, surprise them, encourage them, and even influence - with just a look. I learned that I have a near surreal ability. If you disagree, then don't look into my eyes.