Monday, September 27, 2010

Leaping off a Cliff

            “Why aren’t you at school?”
            For a moment, I was a child again, caught in the act of doing something wrong. I froze.
            Lucy looked at me sternly. Apparently you never lose that “teacher look” no matter how old you get.
            It was 11 o’clock in the morning on a Thursday, and I clearly wasn’t teaching. Darn it, nothing got past Lucy.
            “I...I’m not teaching this year.”
            Her eyebrows rose and she waited me out.
            “Well, I’ve always wanted to write and now seemed like a good time,” I answered tentatively.
            “How long have you been teaching?” she asked.
            “Eight years.”
            “You taught 7th grade for eight years?”
            “Yes, ma’am. Except for the one year I taught eighth grade.”
            “I see. You taught English?”
            “Yes, ma’am.”
            “I taught history and government to high school students for twenty and one-half years.”
            “Yes, ma’am.”
            Lucy is highly regarded in the field of education, to say the least. Teachers who taught with her still rave about her formidable classroom management skills and her extensive knowledge of American history and government. I am a relatively new member of the Georgia Beta Kappa chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, a teachers’ service sorority. Lucy is largely responsible for starting our group many years ago, and that’s how I became privileged to meet her.
            My heart sank. I greatly value Lucy’s opinion, and the thought that I might be disappointing her by leaving teaching made me feel sick.
            She sat still for a moment and then extended her hand to me. I moved up next to her bed and took her hand in mine. She pulled me close so she could look into my eyes, and quite possibly, into my soul.
            “You should write, if that’s what you want to do.”
            I sighed happily. She didn’t feel that I had let her down. I relaxed and smiled.
            “It’s important to do something you like,” she said. “I wish I had.”
            Now wait. What?
            She nodded at me, her eyes wide and serious. “I hated teaching.”
            My jaw dropped and she grinned at me.
            I bent down and kissed her cheek. “I love you, Lucy.”



  1. She sounds like a lovely woman. What a nice story.

  2. I'm lucky to have gotten the chance to know her. Thanks for your kind words.

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