Kathy Dudley :: HVWP I.I.14 :: 24.7.2014 :: Draft 2: Teacher experiene
In walks this girl wearing an orange and white polka dotted jumper. It’s kind of short, just above her knees. The white collar like makes a strong contrast to the color of her slender neck I noticed the neck immediately because of the contrast, like. Don’t get me wrong. So, she just walks in, this girl. Without knocking, see. Which ain’t right. This is Wasserman’s classroom. And rule number one is knock before you enter. Rule number two: you better speak to whoever is in the room. Otherwise Wasserman makes you go back outside. And start all over. I’m not kidding. And you really have to start all over. Happened to me a couple a times.
So I’m sitting there and I look up. First at her, then at Wasserman. And Wasserman doesn’t say anything. Or make the girl go back out and knock. Like what she makes me do. Then, get a load of this: Wasserman actually smiles at the girl. Smiles! She never smiles. Ever. That prune mouth stays puckered like she just ate a lemon. To tell the truth, I had never seen Wasserman smile in over two years at this school.
I’m sitting in a seat farthest from the door. In a dark shady corner, making up the grammar test I missed two weeks ago. Wasserman sits in front of the class, watching me like a hawk, know what I mean? The dusty chalkboard is crammed with diagrammed sentences. The door and this thick bottle glass window are on the right from Wasserman’s desk. I’m in a shady spot, but the sun’s heat and light stream through the thick opaque glass. One small listless fan revolves left then right, slowly, scattering dust motes and warm air.
The girl has this big grin on her face. She is taller than me, I figure. I can’t believe it: she has freckles, too. She carries this single sheet of white paper in her left hand, and some thick folder in her right. A pigskin satchel over her right shoulder looks heavy. “Mrs. Wasserman. Sorry to barge in,” she says.
She didn’t even say excuse me. The Wasser man looks up and sweet as honey says, “Think nothing of it.” And then she sees the paper. “What have you there? Need help with a writing assignment?” Wasserman reaches out her bony hand. You ever see those fake monster parts kids buy at Halloween? You know, like green hands with red claws? Well the fat blue veins along her wrist and her blood-red nail polish make her hands look just like them monster claws.
The crisp paper rustles as Wasserman grasps it between two hands. She looks up at the girl, then down at the page. “A poem? An epic?” The girl nods. Wasserman reads silently, but mouths the words between pursed lips, head moving side to side across the page, right to left and back, like the fan. She pauses, a question on her face, scrunches up her brow up at the girl, then returns to reading.
The girl watches Wasserman closely, her head moving when Wasserman’s does, smiling when Wasserman smiles, questioning look matching Wasserman’s. “This is very thoughtful. Historical yet not time bound,” she murmurs, pleased.